Man Convicted in Topless Coffee Shop Fire Wants New Trial

A man convicted of burning down a topless coffee shop seven years ago in Maine is arguing for a new trial.

The Kennebec Journal reports that 55-year-old Raymond Bellavance Jr. took the witness stand at a hearing Wednesday in Augusta.

Bellavance was convicted in 2011 of arson in the June 2009 blaze that destroyed the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Vassalboro and forced seven people from their home. Bellavance received a 30-year prison term.

Authorities had said the former Winthrop man set the fire because he was angry that his girlfriend was dating the owner.

Bellavance argues his attorneys were ineffective. He also questioned the state's immunity given to a man who testified at trial that he accompanied Bellavance to the shop on the day of the fire.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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