Lake County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Gibson made it clear to Austin Marrie that this was his one chance at mercy.
Marrie, 21, of Mentor, had previously pleaded to two counts of burglary in July. He admitted that he was .
Gibson sentenced Marrie to the NEOCAP Drug Treatment Center instead of prison. However, the judge made it clear that if Marrie got in trouble again and violated his community control, he would face six years in prison.
"Trust me, my friend, you won't get a second chance with me," Gibson said. "Not two. You have my solemn promise on that."
Gibson said he was giving Marrie this opportunity for three reasons. One, both of his victims asked that he receive treatment instead of prison; two, he was still young; and, three, this was his first felony conviction -- though Marrie has a lengthy juvenile record.
Gibson counted 19 times Marrie had been to Juvenile Court in a 2-year period.
Marrie made no excuses for his actions and apologized to the court, his family and victims.
"What I did was selfish, immature and wrong," Marrie said.
"It's a shame that this is what it took to wake me up," he continued. "For the past seven years, I've been a mess and the decisions I've been making haven't been working."
As part of his punishment, Gibson also ordered Marrie to repay his victims. Marrie will wait in jail until a bed at NEOCAP is available. After he completes the treatment program, he must participate in aftercare, including Alcoholics Anonymous, and maintain a full-time job.
Gibson also ordered Marrie to list his friends -- specifically the ones with which he did drugs. When Marrie did, Gibson ordered him not to contact any of them.
"When you get out of NEOCAP, you have to understand you're going to be lonely for a year, at least a year," Gibson said. "Because the people you've been hanging out with are losers. That makes you a loser. You need to break the pattern. You need to be lonely.
"You are not a throwaway product," Gibson continued. "You area redeemable person. But to be redeemed, it requires that you change your habits, change your friends and change your priorities."
When Mentor police initially , he fled from the officers -- even shedding his clothes to try to throw them off his trail.
It worked and Marrie remained on the lam for about a month before he was ultimately arrested.
Marrie was also convicted of petty theft and attempted forgery last year, according to Mentor Municipal Court records.