The saga of a popular Shreveport eatery took another turn Tuesday, April 19, 2016, when a local man accused of torching the Olive Street Bistro pleaded guilty just before a jury was to be empaneled to decide his fate.
Carl R. Dollar, 29, pleaded guilty before Judge Roy Brun to charges that he committed the arson of the restaurant on Sept. 30, 2013.
Prosecutors were Ed Blewer and John Aaron Crawford. Defense counsel was Richard C. Goorley.
Dollar had been charged with one count of simple arson resulting in damages amounting to more than $500,000. However, in recent months an additional charge of arson with intent to defraud was added.
“Dollar pled guilty as charged under an ‘Alford’ plea to Arson with the Intent to Defraud,” Blewer said. “This plea is taken where the defendant admits there is sufficient evidence to convict him if he went to trial, but refuses to admit responsibility. This type of plea is a felony guilty plea that can be used for future multi-bill purposes.”
Dollar’s next court appearance will be May 25, 2016, when he will be sentenced to 18 months hard labor, a $5,000 fine and $1,700 in restitution. The restitution is for two companies that had property in the building at the time of the fire.
Dollar worked as restaurant manager for the restaurant that was owned by Fernando Maldonado. The popular eatery originally was founded as La Margarita in 1979 by Giuseppe Brucia and Vincent Campanella, was renamed in 1981 and was purchased by Maldonado in 2006. The eatery was featured in Kevin Costner’s 2007 movie “Mr. Brooks.”