HELENA — A Lewis & Clark County jury has found the owner of a Helena restaurant guilty of accountability for arson, and not guilty of conspiracy to commit arson.
After several hours of deliberation, the jury reached its verdict Monday evening in the trial of Maureen Doubek, who owned the Red Roof Café. The building on U.S. Highway 12, on Helena’s west side, was destroyed by a fire in October 2018.
The conspiracy and accountability charges were “alternative counts,” meaning the jury could have found her guilty of one or neither, but not both.
Doubek’s sentencing is set for April 29.
According to court documents, firefighters found evidence the fire at the Red Roof Café was set intentionally, including combustible material stacked around an open burner on a water heater, a burned mattress and a mattress blocking the rear entrance.
Brad Richardson was eventually charged with arson. According to court documents, Richardson had previously met with Doubek and offered to burn the restaurant down in exchange for $14,000 of the insurance money. The documents also say Doubek told law enforcement that Richardson did make that offer, but she repeatedly declined it, saying she didn’t want to be involved with anything illegal.
Richardson reached a plea agreement with prosecutors last year. He pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, a lesser charge, and was committed to the Montana Department of Corrections for five years, with all of that time suspended.