Jury selection continued for a second day in the case of the man being accused of burning down the Little Nashville Opry for insurance money.
The Little Nashville Opry burned down on September 19, 2009. Former manager, James Bowyer, was arrested two years ago on felony arson charges.
A probable cause affidavit said Bowyer had large gambling debts. He was promised $300,000 if the venue sold, but a deal to sell the Opry fell through weeks before the fire.
Prosecutors argue Bowyer set fire to the venue to collect $3 million in insurance money. An investigation concluded there was no evidence of others involved in the incident.
Potential jurors were questioned today by prosecutor Jim Oliver and Bowyer’s attorney, John Boren.
The jurors were interviewed concerning their knowledge of the judicial systems, feeling concerning innocence and guilt and even if they had a bias or prejudice of government agencies. Both sides focused on whether it was acceptable to burn property to relieve debt and whether the elderly should be held as accountable as everyone else.
Boren left many of the jurors with two main questions: “Do you believe Jim Bowyer through his attorney has to prove to you who committed this arson?” and “What thoughts are going to run through your head at the end of this trial if Jim Bowyer does not testify?”
Opening arguments are expected to begin later this week or early next week. If convicted, Bowyer could face up to 20 years behind bars.
Anjona Ghosh contributed to this report.