Man Dodges Prison For Beating Wife's Heroin Dealer With Baseball Bat

By McCarton Ackerman 11/08/16

An Ohio community's overwhelming support helped Edwin Sobony II escape jail time for assaulting his wife's heroin dealer.

Man Dodges Prison For Beating Wife's Heroin Dealer With Baseball Bat

An Ohio man faced up to eight years in prison for beating his wife’s heroin dealer with a baseball bat, but was instead sentenced to probation due to overwhelming public support.

Last December, Edwin Sobony II had had enough and brutally beat his cousin, Larry Jewell, for continuing to supply his wife with heroin. Sobony had repeatedly warned Jewell to stay away from his home and had even asked local authorities for their assistance on the day of the attack. But after Jewell dropped by once again, Sobony beat him with an aluminum baseball bat. Jewell was hospitalized with skull fractures and Sobony was convicted last September of felonious assault.

Although the charge normally calls for two to eight years in federal prison, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Judge Charles Schneider gave him just two years of probation instead. The light sentence came due to “Sobony’s lack of a criminal record, little chance that he will offend again and the level of provocation that triggered the assault,” according to the Dispatch.

“I’m not supporting what Mr. Sobony did,” said Schneider. “Vigilante justice is not supported by the court. But the people in this community have just had it.”

Schneider added that he received an unprecedented number of pre-sentencing letters showing overwhelming community support for Sobony. The judge also cited reading comments posted from readers on the Dispatch’s website, who offered “to pay his legal bills, wanting to post his bond if I put him in jail … The reaction in the community was immediate, and it’s because this community has had it with drugs.”

In a gross understatement, Sobony told the court that “my actions were a little aggressive. I’m sorry, but I felt I was protecting my family.”

His attorney, Sam Shamansky, praised the judge’s ruling. “Judge Schneider is a champion and he is not one of those cowards who is influenced by anything other than doing the right thing,” he said. “Given my client’s background, which was exemplary, his work history, second to none … the abject behavior, negative behavior of the victim, and the mitigating circumstances, it was perfectly appropriate.”

Ohio has grappled with a spate of opioid overdoses in recent months. A batch of heroin cut with powerful elephant sedatives led to 91 overdoses and eight deaths during a 10-day period in July in the city of Akron. In August, Cincinnati also made headlines for seeing 174 overdoses in a six-day span.

In September, a judge in Hamilton County even took the unprecedented step of offering immunity to anyone who turned in heroin or other dangerous substances.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.