A judge in Ohio showed favor to a husband convicted of using a baseball bat to beat a man who sold heroin to his wife. Instead of jail time, the convicted husband was given probation.
After being convicted of the attack, Edwin Sobony II, 38, could have been handed up to eight years in jail, but Franklin County Judge Charles Schneider said the circumstances of the beating did not warrant such a harsh sentence, Fox 8 Cleveland reports.
Judge Schneider said he does not support “vigilante justice,” but he acknowledged that Sobony was not likely to be a repeat offender and was clearly a man looking to clean up his neighborhood.
“I’m not supporting what Mr. Sobony did,” the judge said. “Vigilante justice is not supported by the court. But the people in this community have just had it.”
The judge also noted that he was impressed by the number of people in the community who reached out to come to Sobony’s support. Some even offered to pay the man’s legal bills.
In his own defense, Sobony said he was only trying to protect his wife from the man exploiting her.
“My actions were a little aggressive,” he said. “I’m sorry, but I felt I was protecting my family.”
People also testified that several times Sobony warned the drug dealer, Larry Jewell, to stay away from his wife and family.
Heroin use has surged to what officials call epidemic levels in recent years. Authorities say up to 27,000 people a year die of opioid addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 23 percent of people who use heroin become addicted to it.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.