A witness who graduated from a drug rehabilitation program in jail two days ago testified that he watched Raymond Bellavance pour gasoline behind the Grand View Topless Coffee shop early on June 3, 2009, and then set it ablaze with his lighter.

Thomas Mulkern, 26, said this morning that he wanted to clear his conscience, so he changed the story that he had told investigators previously.

Mulkern was given immunity from prosecution for anything related to that fire in exchange for his testimony on the sixth day of the jury trial in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Bellavance, 50, of Winthrop, is charged with two counts of arson and has maintained he is innocent.

Mulkern testified over the strenuous objections of two attorneys representing Bellavance.

The information from Mulkern initially surfaced late Wednesday and the judge gave both the jury Thursday off while the defense and prosecution could evaluate the material and talk to Mulkern.

Mulkern testified the two men fought shortly after the fire when he learned people were living in the former motel, which was part of the building that housed the coffee shop.

Seven people, including owner Donald Crabtree, escaped the fire without injury.

Mulkern said Bellavance threatened him with a knife.