EASTON, Pa. - A Northampton County judge ruled Friday that treatment for an ingrown toenail wasn’t enough of a reason to temporarily release a man found guilty in the fatal hit-and-run of a 9-year-old boy.
Defense attorney Phil Lauer petitioned the county court to release Royce Atkins on bail until his sentencing in two weeks, so his client could receive treatment for a persistent ingrown toenail. A jury found the 23-year-old Hanover Township man guilty in November 2016 for the hit-and-run death of Darious Condash.
The crash happened in November 2015 on Schoenersville Road in Hanover Township. Condash had bent down to pick up a candy bar he dropped while crossing the street.
Atkins has been in county jail since the guilty verdict.
Lauer told Northampton County Judge Michael Koury that Atkins was suffering from an ingrown toenail in two places on the same toe. The toenail often becomes infected and requires treatment, so Atkins would like to see his own podiatrist before he’s sentenced, Lauer said.
Atkins told the judge the toenail will be inflamed making it difficult to walk.
But Koury questioned why he couldn’t receive treatment at the prison like any other inmate. Atkins said prison doctors have treated him, but the treatment will not permanently remedy the problem.
Lauer repeatedly raised the issue of the prison’s less than sanitary conditions as not being conducive to recovery for what amounts to minor surgery. Koury asked the attorney if he had any proof of the conditions at the prison.
“I think once you put that many people in that little a space, you have less than sanitary conditions,” Lauer replied.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Lupackino said he opposed the bail request, arguing prison doctors are capable of treating Atkins’ ingrown toenail. If he wants to be treated by his own doctor, Lupackino said he’d be willing to arrange a furlough in which Atkins would be accompanied by a county sheriff’s deputy.
Lauer noted that Atkins appeared for every court date prior to his trial. But he’s now facing a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in state prison that includes the possibility of a longer sentence, Lupackino said.
Atkins has no children and no job right now, so the motivation to flee is higher, Lupackino argued. He also noted that the original crime involved a “degree of concealment and deception.”
Koury ultimately agreed with prosecutors and denied the bail request. He said he was open to a furlough.
Atkins is scheduled to be sentenced 10 a.m. March 3.
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