Ohio Artist Released From Swedish Jail

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - An Ohioan jailed last month for burning a Christmas ornament in central Sweden was sentenced to time served and released on Wednesday.

Lawrence Litchford Jones, a 51-year-old Cleveland-based artist, told the court he was sorry about what happened and that he thought burning the 21-foot straw goat was a local tradition, district court judge Karl-Axel Bladh said.

Jones was apprehended by angry citizens in Gaevle, 100 miles north of Stockholm after using his lighter to set the goat on fire Dec. 23.

The goat, an annual construction by the city's merchants association, burns at the hands of vandals almost every year, but the fire starters seldom are caught.

The court sentenced Jones to one month in prison for inflicting gross damage, but released him on time served. He also was fined $9,600.

"It was an impulsive act," Bladh said. "He didn't realize how valuable the goat is."

Jones also told the court he was under the influence of alcohol and pain relievers, Bladh said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)