Thursday, a Waynesboro judge ordered prison time for a man who robbed a convenience store and attacked the clerk with a wrench.
The judge suspended most of the prison time against 22-year-old Anthony J. Batton, but he will serve a total of five years.
Batton was taken into custody nearly a month after the robbery, and his family says the arrest was a blessing in disguise. They say the time behind bars probably saved his life.
Batton had already pleaded guilty to robbery and malicious wounding. He's been in jail since his arrest last August.
Prosecutors say he robbed $80 from a store on East Broad Street in Waynesboro and struck the clerk in the head with a wrench.
Family members say Batton had been in a downward spiral of drug abuse and was high on bath salts at the time of the robbery.
"If this had not saved him, he was probably, maybe 120-125 pounds. He's right now pushing 200 pounds and he looks really good. There's a light in his eyes that's there that we hadn't seen in a long time," said Denise Ryan, the defendant's aunt.
Attorneys say Batton is now being treated for mental problems that had long gone undiagnosed.
The Waynesboro judge ordered continued rehab in prison and said Batton has made "gigantic strides."
Ryan says she met with the injured store clerk, and offered to pay his medical bills. The worker suffered a gash to the side of the head that required stitches.
Waynesboro Man Sentenced for Robbery, Malicious WoundingMore>>