GREENSBORO - Judge Henry Frye Jr. of Guilford Superior Court took another headlong leap into the deep end of the soft-on-crime pool Friday when he handed down another marshmallow sentence to an admitted armed robber.
Only this time the beneficiary wasn't the son (and namesake) of a high-profile college basketball coach. It was Brian Martin, the co-defendant of and partner in crime to the coach's kid, Sidney Lowe II.
Martin, 20, had agreed to plead guilty to more than a dozen counts of armed robbery, second-degree kidnapping and assault related to a home invasion and the shooting of a low-level, college marijuana dealer in March 2007.
The only thing left to decide was how long Martin would spend in prison. At the high end, he was looking at 30 years. At the low end, he faced about four.
Young Lowe was sent away for just 15 months of active time, along with Frye's recommendation that he serve it at a minimum-security prison farm. He had faced up to 23 years in a real prison with actual thugs for bunkmates.
Since he was charged with basically the same crimes as Lowe -- the only exception being that he actually shot somebody -- Martin surely expected similar kid-gloves treatment.
He got it. And how.
Frye sentenced him to between 24 and 38 months of active time, well below what the state normally requires of armed robbers with a previous drug conviction, and recommended that Martin be sent to a drug-rehabilitation center run by the N.C. Department of Correction.