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LOCKBOURNE, Ohio – A man convicted of beating his wife’s heroin supplier with a baseball bat has been sentenced to probation by an Ohio judge, who noted extensive support for the defendant from a community fed up with drug problems.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Edwin Sobony II could have faced eight years in prison, but was sentenced Wednesday to two years of probation for felonious assault.

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Franklin County Judge Charles Schneider said he doesn’t support “vigilante justice,” but concluded that Sobony is unlikely to re-offend. Schneider said he received lots of letters in support of Sobony before sentencing and people offered to pay Sobony’s legal bills.

The 38-year-old apologized in court for the December beating, which left the alleged supplier with skull fractures. Sobony said he was trying to protect his family.

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