Blair County Judge Timothy Sullivan agreed to the unusual request on Friday, telling the defendant, 38-year-old Sean Graham, "Chivalry is not dead," the Altoona Mirror reported Wednesday.
Graham agreed to plead guilty to felony possession with intent to deliver cocaine and weapons possession charges and to receive 15 to 30 years in prison, on the condition that his live-in girlfriend, 45-year-old Melissa Shaw, could plead guilty to a lesser misdemeanor drug charge and receive just 11 to 23 months in the county jail.
The charges stem from a March 2011 raid of the couple's home, where police say they found nearly 10 ounces of cocaine and two guns owned by Graham.
Shaw's attorney, Thomas Dickey, concocted the compromise so Shaw could avoid a felony conviction and the resulting automatic loss of her liquor license.
Graham agreed, despite the objections of his own defense attorney, but the judge wanted to ensure that Graham understood the serious consequences and asked why he was willing to participate in such a deal.
"Just so hopefully my girlfriend doesn't lose the bar," Graham said. "It was all my fault."
District Attorney Richard Consiglio also signed off on the deal, which allows Graham to remain free until he reports to prison on Jan. 7. Until then, he and Shaw will be allowed to work together in the bar. The bar is located in Juniata, and all parties agreed it was not related to the drug possession allegations.