In December 2015, an Ohio man fractured an alleged drug dealer;s skull with a baseball bat.
Edwin Sobony, 38, was found guilty and was facing eight years in prison for assaulting the dealer, who was supplying heroin to Sobony’s wife, reports the Columbus Dispatch.
According to court testimony, Sobony told the alleged heroin pusher, Larry Jewell, who is his wife's cousin, to stay away from the couple's house. Reportedly, Jewell did not comply, and as a result got the baseball bat treatment.
At the Nov. 2 sentencing, Sobony was sentenced to two years of probation for felonious assault, reports WPXI.
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Franklin County Judge Charles Schneider, who received many letters in support of Sobony, said that his decision was based on the belief that the defendant is unlikely to be a repeat offender. "I'm not supporting what Mr. Sobony did," he explained. "Vigilante justice is not supported by the court. But the people in this community have just had it.”
Judge Schneider, a 12-year veteran of the Franklin County Common Pleas bench, noted that he often gets letters in support of defendants prior to sentencing, "but not the numbers I've received on this case," he added. “The reaction in the community was immediate, and it's because this community has had it with drugs."
During court testimony, Sobony apologized for bashing in the heroin dealer's skull. “My actions were a little aggressive," he said. "I'm sorry, but I felt I was protecting my family."
Sobony says the outpouring of sympathy from the community has affected him. “It means a lot to me. ... I appreciate the people of the community for their support. I want to say thank you."
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As for his wife, he said that she is managing her addiction. "She's fine. We'll put the pieces back together and get on with our lives."