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Prosecutor: Arrest made in Little Nashville Opry case
Updated on: 03.06.12

James "Jim" D. Bowyer, 75

UPDATE:

James "Jim" Bowyer, former manager of the Little Nashville Opry, was arrested Tuesday, March 6 on a Class B felony arson charge.

He is accused of setting the Sept. 19, 2009 fire that destroyed the music venue.

His initial hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in Brown Circuit Court.

"There is no evidence at this time that anyone else participated in or conspired in the burning or the arson," said Brown County Prosecutor Jim Oliver at a press conference this afternoon.

Investigators concluded that the fire started on the stage with an ignitable liquid, Oliver said, reading from documents filed in Brown Circuit Court Monday. 

Portions of the sprinker system and the alarm bell had been disabled at the direction of Bowyer, according to a six-page probable cause affidavit by Michael A. Vergon, special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Investigators said Bowyer and Opry owner Esther Hamilton played millions of dollars at casinos over a four-year period and had only a couple hundred dollars in their personal checking accounts.

Little Nashville Opry Inc. also was facing two civil lawsuits that could have resulted in $270,000 in liabilities, the affidavit stated.

At least one attempt to sell the Opry -- in 2008, for $2 million -- had fallen through, investigators said.

This story will be updated.

PDF DOCUMENT: Probable cause affidavit about the case (click here to download)

EARLIER STORY:

A press conference will take place at 4 p.m. today to announce an arrest made in the Little Nashville Opry case, Prosecutor Jim Oliver announced this afternoon.

The press conference will take place at the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, where more details will be released.

The country music venue on State Road 46 West outside of Nashville burned to the ground the night of Sept. 19 2009. Authorities have long known the fire was intentionally set, but no arrests had been made up to this point.

As of 1:40 p.m. Tuesday, no one had been booked into the Brown County jail on any charges related to arson.

Obituaries
See Full List »

David E. Stillabower, 66, Nashville
  Companion of Mary McGahey of Nashville

Marion 'Gayle' Wilkerson, 81, Trafalgar
  

Helen Louise (Fenicle) Richards, 90, Nashville
  Mother of Shawnee B. (Michael) Muirhead of Brown County, and Staci (Kevin) Harden of Nashville

  • April 16
    Live music at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • April 16
    BCHS baseball on Wednesday
    5 p.m., 6 p.m. Brown County High School, Jennings County
  • April 16
    Brown County Commissioners
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 16
    Lake Lemon Conservancy District Board
    6 p.m. Benton Township Building, 7606 State Road 45, Unionville
  • April 16
    "The Passion of the Christ" movie at church in New Bellsville
    6 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • April 17
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • April 17
    Rotary Club 'revelry' night
    5 to 6:30 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • April 17
    Nashville Town Council
    6:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • April 17
    BCHS sports for Thursday
    4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
  • April 17
    Go Club at the library
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 17
    Nashville Literary Club
    1:40 p.m., 2 p.m. IGA parking lot
  • April 17
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6 p.m. Brown County High School, 234 Schoolhouse Lane
  • April 17
    CSVFD
    7:30 p.m. CSVFD fire station, 101 Firehouse Road, Nineveh
  • April 17
    Novel Bunch book club
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 17
    'Noah' movie at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • April 17
    "The Passion of the Christ" movie at church in New Bellsville
    6 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • April 17
    BC Community Corrections Advisory Board
    4 p.m. BCC Corrections office, 902 Deer Run Lane, Suite B.
  • April 18
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • April 18
    Government offices CLOSED
  • April 18
    Dave Miller at sports bar
    7 to 9 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • April 18
    Youth turkey hunting clinic at Yellowwood
    5 to 8 p.m. T.C. Steele Road, Belmont
  • April 18
    'Noah' movie at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • April 18
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • April 18
    Good Friday, Easter services at Harmony Baptist
    7:30 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • April 19
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • April 19
    Euchre
    6 p.m. 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • April 19
    Live music at sports bar
    7 to 9:30 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • April 19
    'Noah' movie at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • April 19
    Late night dancing at Out of the Ordinary
    9 p.m. Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • April 19
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    3 p.m., 6 p.m. Brown County Intermediate School, 260 Schoolhouse Lane
  • April 19
    Pest prevention/treatment presentation by holisitic health group
    2 to 4 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 19
    Live band at dance barn
    6 p.m., 7 p.m. Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • April 19
    BCHS sports for Saturday
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m.
  • April 19
    Duncan Cemetery clean up Saturday, April 19
    9 a.m. 4100 Yellowwood Road, off State Road 46 West
  • April 19
    Easter egg hunts in the area
    1 p.m. Deer Run Park
  • April 20
    'Noah' movie at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • April 20
    All are welcome at Easter services
    7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m.
  • April 21
    Brown County Council
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 21
    B.C. Solid Waste Management Board
    5:15 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 21
    Brown County Water Utility 2014 annual meeting
    6 p.m., 7 p.m. Brown County High School, 234 School House Lane
  • April 21
    BCHS Varsity sports for Monday
    5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. Brown County High School, Brownstown Central
  • April 22
    Euchre
    6 p.m. 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • April 22
    Brown County Area Plan Commission
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 22
    BCHS sports for Tuesday
    5 p.m., 6 p.m. Brown County High School, Indiana Creek
  • April 23
    Board of Zoning Appeals
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 23
    BCHS sports for Wednesday
    5 p.m. Brown County High School, Providence Jr./Sr. HS
  • April 23
    Live music at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • April 23
    BC Parks & Rec. Board
    5:15 p.m. BC Parks & Rec. Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • April 24
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • April 24
    BCHS sports for Thursday
    4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m. Brown County High School
  • April 25
    Live music at sports bar
    7 to 9 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • April 25
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • April 25
    Friends of the library plant sale
    3 to 6 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 25
    Game night at dance barn
    6 to 10 p.m. Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • April 25
    Live music at Out of the Ordinary
    7:30 p.m. to midnight Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • April 25
    Dave Miller at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • April 26
    Euchre
    6 p.m. 746 Memorial Drive, (fairgrounds)
  • April 26
    Live band at dance barn
    6 p.m., 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • April 26
    Dance lessons at Out of the Ordinary
    7:30 p.m., 8 p.m. to midnight Out of the Ordinary, 61 S. Van Buren St.
  • April 26
    Friends of the library plant sale
    9 a.m. to noon Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 26
    Plant sale at BCSP Nature Center
    9 a.m. until sold out Brown County State Park Nature Center
  • April 26
    Harpeth Rising band at The Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. Brown County Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren
  • April 26
    Hope for Hearts Farm free women's extravaganza
    9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hope For Hearts Farm, 1005 State Road 45, Bean Blossom
  • April 26
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • April 26
    Live music at winery
    7 to 10 p.m. Chateau Thomas Winery, 225 S. Van Buren St.
  • April 27
    Brown County Railroad gallery
    1-4 p.m. Three Story Hill at State Road 135 N., Fruitdale
  • April 29
    Euchre
    6 p.m. 746 Memorial Drive, (fairgrounds)
  • May 1
    Gospel jam session
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • May 1
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    3 p.m., 6 p.m. Helmsburg Elementary, 5378 Helmsburg Road
  • May 2
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • May 2
    Live band at 19th Hole sports bar
    6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • May 3
    Euchre
    6 p.m. 746 Memorial Drive, (fairgrounds)
  • May 3
    Live band at 19th Hole sports bar
    8 to 11 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • May 4
    Brown County Railroad gallery
    1 to 4 p.m. 18 W. Three Story Hill (at State Road 135 N.) Fruitdale
  • May 9
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • May 10
    Store to host bike blessing, open house
    10 a.m. to 5 p.m. House of Thunder, 4413 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • May 10
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • May 11
    Brown County Railroad gallery
    1 to 4 p.m. 18 W. Three Story Hill (at State Road 135 N.) Fruitdale
  • May 14
    Thrive Alliance Board of Directors
    3:30 to 5 p.m. ACSSCI main office conference room, 1531 13th St., Suite G900, Columbus