Indiana Music Hall Owner Denies Arson Intent

January 30, 2014

The owner of a southern Indiana concert hall says she wasn’t having financial troubles when it was destroyed in a fire that prosecutors say was arson.

Esther Hamilton testified Tuesday in the trial of former Little Nashville Opry manager James Bowyer on charges he set the fire that destroyed the business Hamilton started with her late husband in 1975.

The Herald-Times reports Hamilton said sold-out shows with Loretta Lynn and George Jones were coming up in the weeks after the 2009 fire. Hamilton testified she and Bowyer were heading to a Shelbyville casino after he closed the business for the night when they were called about the fire.

Brown County sheriff’s Detective Scott Southerland testified cellphone records showed Bowyer had time to set the fire and make the trip.

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