Regional News

A 54-year-old woman is scheduled for an October trial in Custer County District Court on three felony counts arising from a March 2018 fire at an Arnold bar.

Jane A. Chestnutt pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree arson, burning to defraud an insurer and criminal mischief worth $5,000 or more, according to court records from Nebraska’s JUSTICE online court database.

District Judge Karin Noakes set Chestnutt’s case for trial during the jury term starting Oct. 15 in Broken Bow. Chestnutt, also known as Jane A. Kelly, remains free on 10% of $15,000 bail.

Custer County prosecutors have accused Chestnutt of setting fire to Jim’s Bar, which she and her husband were in the process of buying, on March 27, 2018. The bar sustained heavy damage.

During an investigation, Chestnutt told authorities that she accidentally knocked over and broke a whiskey bottle. She set a flame to the spilled whiskey to see if it would burn, and once it ignited, she was unable to put out the fire and fled, according to court records.

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