Edwin Sobony II knew that his wife had a heroin addiction, and he knew that her supplier and drug buddy, Larry Jewell, was exasperating the problem.
Time and time again, Sobony begged Jewell to stay away from his wife and his family.
But Jewell kept showing up on his property — to the home where his five children lived — giving drugs to his wife. Sobony knew that he was running out of time— if nothing changed, his wife would die.
Eventually, Jewell’s continued presence put him over the edge. According to The Columbus Dispatch, on December 9, 2015, Sobony went to the local police station and asked for help. But because they were unable to provide immediate help — they told him he could file a civil order of protection — Sobony decided to take matters into his own hands.
The father of five beat Jewell to a pulp with an aluminum bat, leaving him in the ICU with a fractured skull.
Sobony was arrested and charged with one count of felonious assault. At his trial in September, Sobony, who prior to his arrest had a clean record, told the jury that he would have done anything to keep his family safe:
“My actions were a little aggressive. I’m sorry, but I felt I was protecting my family.”
He was convicted for his crime, but the community rallied around him.
Judge Charles Schneider, who presided over the case, tells The Columbus Dispatch that he was astonished at the number of letters he received — the most he’s ever received — in support of Sobony. Some community members went so far as to offer to pay Sobony’s legal fees or bond should Sobony be placed in jail. Schneider says he understands why the response has been so strong:
“The reaction in the community was immediate, and it’s because this community has had it with drugs.”
Based on his conviction, Sobony was looking at two to eight years in prison. But taking all of the facts into consideration, Judge Schneider sentenced Sobony to just two years probation. He explains his sentencing:
“I’m not supporting what Mr. Sobony did. Vigilante justice is not supported by the court. But the people in this community have just had it.”
Sobony is thankful for the support he received from his community. As for his wife, Sobony says she is getting the help that she needs.
“She’s fine,” he says. “We’ll put the pieces back together and get on with our lives.”