Crime

Man faces federal arson charge in April 25 fire at Qdoba restaurant

Qdoba Mexican Grill at East Tiverton Way and Nicholasville Road in Lexington remains closed after being gutted by fire on April 25.
Qdoba Mexican Grill at East Tiverton Way and Nicholasville Road in Lexington remains closed after being gutted by fire on April 25. gkocher1@herald-leader.com

A Lexington man faces a federal arson charge in the April 25 fire that damaged the Qdoba Mexican Grill at East Tiverton Way and Nicholasville Road.

Bennie C. Davis, 20, appeared in federal court in Lexington on Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins.

Davis was arrested Tuesday after he was named in a criminal complaint on a charge of “malicious arson of a building involved in interstate commerce.” Qdoba is a subsidiary of the San Diego-based chain Jack in the Box Inc.

The complaint and arrest warrant against Davis remained sealed Wednesday afternoon. However, Christopher Spedding, the Lexington lawyer who represented Davis in court, said the charge was related to the Qdoba fire.

Lexington firefighters were called to the Qdoba at 1:15 a.m. April 25. The building was heavily damaged but there were no injuries. No one was inside the building when firefighters arrived.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled in the Davis case for Monday in Lexington. At that time, Atkins will hear evidence to determine whether there is probable cause for the case to proceed.

A detention hearing is also scheduled for Monday. Spedding stood in for Lexington lawyer Andrew Stephens, who was appointed to represent Davis.

If convicted, Davis could face a prison sentence of between five to 20 years.

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