Hakim Glover helped his cousin John Lewis flee Philadelphia after the Oct. 31, 2007, slaying of Police Officer Chuck Cassidy.
Glover later was arrested and faced an even tougher decision - testifying for prosecutors in the murder trial last month that put Lewis, 23, on Pennsylvania's death row.
Yesterday, that decision was rewarded with a sentence bringing parole, rather than prison, and was imposed by a Philadelphia judge who praised Glover for not bowing to the "don't snitch" culture.
"We live in a community and in a larger society where there seems to be more pressure on people in your position to not do the right thing than to do the right thing," Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner told Glover.
Glover, 26, apologized to his family and the court "for all the stress I caused" and told Lerner, "I'll just be glad when I can put this all behind me."
Instead of the 9- to 16-month prison term recommended by state sentencing guidelines, Glover got 2 to 12 months.
Lerner immediately paroled Glover because he had spent three months in jail before posting $250,000 bail.
Glover remains on parole for the next year. He then begins two years of reporting probation.
Unlike the courtroom packed with police during all nine days of Lewis' murder trial, Glover's sentencing occurred before his wife, mother, and grandmother.
Glover did not exhibit the stress and emotion he had shown Nov. 17, when he spent an uneasy hour on the witness stand across the courtroom from Lewis.
Although he already had pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Lewis, Glover buckled as lawyers questioned him on why he had helped his cousin flee the city.
Glover said he had helped Lewis because his cousin was suicidal and threatening to kill other police and civilians. He also said his thinking was clouded by "love for that young man."
Glover's words triggered an emotional outburst from Lewis, who shouted "I love you, too, man!" from his seat at the defense table.
Yesterday, Glover's attorney, Michael I. McDermott, told Lerner of Glover's efforts to turn his life around and the heavy pressure he was under from his extended family.
McDermott said Glover had no arrests for years before the incident involving his cousin, and none since. He recently married but has been unable to find a job as long as he might go to prison.
Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron did not object to the noncustodial sentence, saying Glover had cooperated with his office soon after his November 2007 arrest.
Glover pleaded guilty to driving Lewis, 23, from Philadelphia to Wilmington on Nov. 3, 2007, and buying him a $231 round-trip bus ticket to Miami.
Lewis was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting Cassidy, 54, to death during the armed robbery of a North Philadelphia doughnut shop. The jury sentenced Lewis to death by lethal injection, a sentence Lewis is preparing to appeal.
Lerner agreed that Glover's prior criminal record dated from his late teens and congratulated Glover on his efforts to turn his life around.
"You have a fresh start and so far you have made the most of it," Lerner said. "I hope you continue to do so."