After two weeks at court, the arson case against Brookline resident Alan Kaplan has come to an end.

On Nov. 4 a jury found Kaplan, owner of the former Village Smokehouse in Brookline Village, not guilty of arson charges related to a 2013 fire the destroyed a Spooner Road property. The verdict ended four years of turmoil for Kaplan.

“It’s been an awful four and a half years,” Kaplan said.  

In July 2013, a fire destroyed a property on Spooner Road in Chestnut Hill that Kaplan was developing. As the TAB reported in September 2015, the project was a point of controversy in town as prior to the fire, the Zoning Board of Appeals revoked the building permit, claiming the house was 1,000 square feet larger than town bylaws allow.

For years, Kaplan battled with the Zoning Board of Appeals over zoning and in 2008, the Supreme Judicial Court upheld a Land Court ruling that sided with the town.

In September 2013, Steven McCann of Jamaica Plain was indicted on charges of arson related to the fire. In the case against Kaplan, McCann told prosecutors that Kaplan had paid him to torch the Spooner Road property in order to collect insurance money, as the TAB previously reported. 

According to Kaplan’s team, McCann proved to be unreliable and pointed a finger at Kaplan in order to get a deal.

“[Prosecutor Carolyn Hely] cut a deal with someone who was extremely unstable,” Kaplan said referring to McCann.  

The process has been difficult for Kaplan, who says the case has damaged his reputation in town.

“I feel there’s been a misconduct of justice,” said Kaplan. “It’s been a huge tax on my family emotionally and financially.”

Adding to Kaplan’s pain, his wife passed away during the investigation and trial.

“My kids were just petrified that they were going to lose their father too,” Kaplan said, his voice tight with emotion.

It was his wife’s illness, not his arrest that prompted Kaplan to sell the Village Smokehouse, now Magnolia, Kaplan said. He had wanted to focus on his family and kids.

Worried about how to repair his reputation, Kaplan said he keeps thinking of the O.J. Simpson trial and hopes that people will realize that he was found not guilty because he was innocent.

“It’s been a difficult situation and it’s great to be exonerated,” said Kaplan. “It just breaks my heart, I want to be able to distill that stigma.”

That night, after the jury delivered the not guilty verdict, Kaplan said he went home with his kids, where full of relief they spent the evening together catching up on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

“I think we smiled for the first time,” Kaplan said.