Trial starts for former Little Nashville Opry manager

James Bowyer

Testimony has started in the trial of the former manager of a southern Indiana concert hall on charges he set the fire that destroyed it more than four years ago.

The first witnesses took the stand Thursday in a Brown County court on the arson charges against 77-year-old James Bowyer of Morgantown for the September 2009 fire at the Little Nashville Opry.

The Herald-Times reports defense attorney John Boren told jurors Bowyer left to pick up the hall's owner before two other men closed it down for the night.

County Prosecutor Jim Oliver says Bowyer set the fire in hopes of collecting $3 million in insurance money because he was heavily in debt from casino gambling losses.

The trial is expected to last through next week.

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