Catasauqua Press

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Royce Atkins to serve a minimum of four years

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE Special to The Press in Local News

Judge Michael Koury calls hit-and-run driver a ‘heartless human being’

Following a four-day trial, a Northampton County jury found Royce Atkins, 23, guilty in November 2016 in a fatal hit and run that killed 9-year-old Darious Condash. The accident had occurred almost exactly one year before when Darious, accompanied by an older friend and cousin, crossed busy Schoenersville Road, a five-lane highway, at night.

Atkins hit and killed Darious but failed to stop. He said nothing, waiting for police to find him.

But after his arrest, 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 March 3, Judge Michael V. Koury called Atkins “a heartless human being who lacks social conscience.”

Atkins will serve his sentence in state prison.

What did Atkins, an Eagle Scout, say?

He called Judge Koury a “[expletive] piece of [expletive],” a “real “[expletive] scumbag.” He called Assistant District Attorney Joseph Lupackino an “[expletive].” He derided the Condash family, who came to every day of his trial.

“I really wanted to say to them, ‘Like, don’t you [expletive] people have jobs?’” he said. “I literally have no remorse for them whatsoever any more. It makes me [expletive] sick.”

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

Those remarks were played in court before Atkins was sentenced. The Condash family, who came with signs and pictures of Darious, who had been a fourth-grade student at Sheckler Elementary School in Catasauqua, listened as Judge Koury read the remarks.

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

Atkins has been in jail since he was found guilty in the hit and run Nov. 2, 2016. He was represented in the sentencing phase by Easton defense lawyer Phil Lauer, who argued that Atkins’ remarks were really made in frustration and anger at himself.