Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Judge Koury sentences Atkins -- ‘A heartless human being who lacks social conscience’

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

Following a four-day trial, a Northampton County jury found Royce Atkins, 23, guilty in November in a fatal hit-and-run that killed 9-year old Darius Condash. The accident itself occurred almost exactly one year before when Condash, accompanied by an older friend and cousin, crossed busy Schoenersville Road - a five-lane highway - at night. Atkins hit and killed Condash, but failed to stop. He said nothing, waiting for police to find him. But in phone conversations from jail to his father and girlfriend, he said too much. It was enough to get him an additional year in prison beyond the mandatory three years he was already facing.

In imposing a four-year sentence on March 3, Judge Michael V. Koury called Atkins “a heartless human being who lacks social conscience.” Atkins will serve his sentence in state prison, too, where there are medical facilities to treat an ingrown toenail that he previously argued was a justification for house arrest.

What did Atkins, an Eagle Scout, say?

He called Judge Koury a “f-----g piece of “s--t,” a “real “f-----g scumbag.”

He called Assistant DA Joseph Lupackino an “a--hat.”

He derided the Condash family, who came to every day of his trial. “I really wanted to say to them, ‘Like, don’t you f-----g people have jobs?’ “

He said, “I literally have no remorse for them whatsoever any more. It makes me f-----g sick.”

While he made these comments, the district attorney’s office was on the other end of the line, recording him.

Those remarks were heard in court March 3 before Atkins was sentenced. The Condash family, who came with signs and pictures of Darius, listened as Judge Koury read the remarks.

After that, Atkins’s apology in open court failed to sway Judge Koury.

Atkins has been in jail since he was found guilty in the hit-and-run on Nov. 2. He was represented in the sentencing phase by prominent Easton defense lawyer Phil Lauer,who argued that Atkins’ remarks were really made in frustration and anger at himself.