American Jailed in Sweden Freed
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ An American tourist jailed in Sweden for burning an unusual Christmas ornament _ a 21-foot-high straw goat _ was set free on Wednesday.
Lawrence Litchford Jones, a 51-year-old Cleveland artist, told the court he was sorry he torched the goat with his lighter on Dec. 23, but that he thought it was a local tradition, district court judge Karl-Axel Bladh said.
The huge straw goat is built every Christmas by the merchants’ association in Gaevle, a central city about 100 miles north of the capital, Stockholm. Every year vandals burn it down, but they are seldom caught.
Angry citizens in Gaevle apprehended Jones after he set the fire.
Jones was sentenced Wednesday to a month in prison for inflicting gross damage, but the judge released him, saying the 18 days in spent in jail awaiting trial was sufficient. He 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.