AUGUSTA — Raymond Bellavance Jr., who’s serving 30 years for burning down the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in June 2009 in Vassalboro, took the witness stand Wednesday in an effort to get a new trial.

Bellavance claims that his attorney Andrews Campbell was ineffective in a host of areas, as well as a number of other complaints he had about his trial nearly five years ago.

Bellavance, 55, and formerly from Winthrop, was at the Capital Judicial Center with the attorneys representing him now, Verne Paradie Jr. and Patrick Nickerson.

On the witness stand, Bellavance questioned the state’s grant of immunity to Thomas J. Mulkern Jr., 30, who testified at trial that he had accompanied Bellavance in the early morning of June 3, 2009, and carried a gas can to the fire.

“He didn’t commit the arson and neither did I,” Bellavance said on the stand.

The early morning blaze was spotted by a passing ambulance crew, who knocked on doors to alert the seven people — including two infants — living at the former motel to escape.

Even after the trial, Donald Crabtree, owner of the topless coffee shop, said he was not convinced Bellavance was the perpetrator.

Crabtree opened the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in February 2009, drawing national media attention to the rural 4,300-person community, and prompting the town and many others in central Maine to adopt new rules regulating sexually oriented businesses. Crabtree, his two daughters, their infant children and the daughters’ boyfriends all lived in one wing of the building, which formerly had been operated as a motel.

In court Wednesday, Bellavance also charged that the state’s fire investigator fed details about the blaze to Mulkern, and he said transcripts of recorded interviews between the two would support his point.

Bellavance said he raised the issue at trial as well.

There were questions, too, about the attorneys being able to hear things during the trial, which took place in the large courtroom on the second floor of the Kennebec County Courthouse.

Wednesday’s hearing was on the second floor of a courthouse completed in March 2015, where electronics are in evidence everywhere and microphones at every lawyer’s seat and on the judge’s bench.

“Had we had this courtroom, I would definitely have gotten a fair trial,” Bellavance said, scanning the room as he spoke.

Bellavance wore an orange jail uniform, his reading glasses perched atop his close-cropped hair until he began reading documents. He walked to the witness stand carrying a three-ring binder that looked as though it contained a pile of papers 6 inches thick.

Bellavance was in handcuffs and shackles for most of the day, but Justice Donald Marden had the handcuffs removed while Bellavance was on the stand.

Marden did not rule on the issues Wednesday, instead giving the attorneys deadlines for filing written closing arguments.

“Mr. Bellavance, the court can’t promise you a rather speedy resolution of this matter,” Marden said. The judge said he intended to read all the transcripts and consider all the issues.

The court’s file of the case filled the top of a large cart that was rolled into the courtroom.

Bellavance said time-stamped phone records of the Vassalboro Fire Department about that night would support his alibi that he was actually in Augusta when the fire started.

He also said a video that turned up later in a case in Wiscasset would have shown the jury that he testified truthfully when he said he assaulted a fellow inmate after that inmate had come into Bellavance’s cell and spit on him at Two Bridges Jail.

“I didn’t attack him for ratting on me,” Bellavance said, contradicting trial testimony from a jail guard. “The jury would have seen that I was credible and that in fact I wasn’t lying.”

He told the judge that it was an important point.

“The jury is going to assess much more weight to his testimony because he is a corrections officer,” he said.

Two silent videos of that assault were shown during Wednesday’s hearing; however, it was difficult to identify individual inmates on the monitors in the courtroom.

The jail assault video was not shown to the jurors because Justice Michaela Murphy, who presided at the trial, ruled it was too prejudicial against Bellavance.

Bellavance also said the judge was unduly concerned about time, and pressured the jury by twice walking into the jury room, and that Campbell failed to follow Bellavance’s order to object to it.

Bellavance said Campbell should have had DNA tests done on four items, including a beer can, a lighter and a bandanna located near the fire scene.

“They would have exonerated me,” he said.

He also said Campbell failed to call as a witness a fire investigator hired by the defense.

Campbell testified Wednesday that he opted against it after the investigator said he could not refute any of the conclusions offered by the state investigator.

Bellavance also said the prosecutor, then-Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley, committed prosecutorial misconduct in his closing arguments by vouching for the credibility of witnesses. Kelley denied that and District Attorney Maeghan Maloney objected to the misconduct claim, saying it had not been raised in an appeal before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Bellavance said Campbell, who represented him in the law court appeal, raised the wrong issue there.

The state, represented by Maloney, wants Bellavance’s Dec. 30, 2011, conviction to stand. She closely questioned Bellavance as well as Campbell, and a second defense attorney, Pamela Ames, who was appointed partway through the December 2011 trial.

Kelley testified Wednesday that he had not intended to call Mulkern as a witness, since he was expected to provide an alibi for Bellavance.

He said he was surprised to learn the morning of Dec. 21 that then-District Attorney Evert Fowle had offered Mulkern immunity from prosecution in exchange for Mulkern testifying truthfully at Bellavance’s trial.

“I thought, oh no,” Kelley testified. “At this stage it was going to be a complication and a diversion and a potential problem. I felt very confident in the case I had without Thomas Mulkern.”

Ames testified that she was called by Murphy and asked to join the defense team. She said Murphy was concerned that Campbell was missing testimony because he was being distracted by Bellavance, who wanted to call his attention to certain things.

Bellavance is serving his 30-year sentence at the Maine State Prison in Warren, and his earliest release date is Feb. 5, 2034, according to the Maine Department of Corrections website.

“I’ve served too much time already,” Bellavance said Wednesday.

Bellavance has been seeking relief from both the conviction and the sentence that was imposed on May 10, 2012.

In April 2013, the law court unanimously rejected a previous bid to overturn his conviction, and Maloney said the court considered some of the same issues that Bellavance is raising in the current proceeding.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams