CANTON, Ohio – A Canton man accused of burning a cross in front of his home says he was arrested in a misunderstanding over his Halloween decorations.
Thirty-six-year-old Shane Helson says he wanted to make his annual yard display more authentic and set fire to the T-shaped wooden stand that holds up his scarecrow so it would look more weathered.
The fire department responded Tuesday night, and a police complaint says Helson continued to spray lighter fluid on the wood after authorities arrived.
He was charged keeping a disorderly house. If convicted of the misdemeanor, he'd face up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Helson is white, as is next-door neighbor Stephanie Blankenship. But her husband is black, and Blankenship says she felt intimidated.