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Fugitive Surrenders to Get Cancer Care but Authorities Turn Him Loose

"...trying to be a good steward of the taxpayers dollars."

A Wisconsin fugitive turned himself in this week so that he could have taxpayers foot the bill for his cancer treatment. But local law enforcement officials, particularly the sheriff, weren't having any of that. The man was eventually released to a local hospital after his outlook was determined to be "quite bleak."

The Janesville Gazette explains:

Sheriff Bob Spoden wanted Anthony S. Darwin released from jail so county taxpayers wouldn't have to foot the bill for his medical care and because the county doesn't have a facility to provide the level of care Darwin needs.

"It's really a balancing test of trying to do the humane thing, trying to adhere to responsibilities of the office of sheriff, and at the same time trying to be a good steward of the taxpayers dollars," Spoden said after Wednesday's hearing.

District Attorney David O'Leary, before he knew the seriousness of Darwin's health conditions, expressed concern over releasing Darwin.

Defense attorney Jack Hoag said Darwin needed treatment and preferred to be released.

Darwin, 30, Janesville, is scheduled for surgery at University Hospital in Madison today after Judge Alan Bates ordered him released on a signature bond during an emergency hearing Wednesday.

Darwin had been in the Rock County Jail on an $8,000 cash bond for five pending cases—four of which are felony charges—including robbery and battery.

He had been on the run for six years until he turned himself in Jan. 10, O'Leary said.

"He turned himself in because he wanted treatment for his medical conditions," he said. "He wanted us to pay for them. So, we have to, to an extent. He's got a diagnosis, now."

The judge admitted that cost was a factor in releasing Darwin, but he also recognized that without health insurance, taxpayers would probably end up paying for the surgery and treatment anyway. Still, the sheriff believes it's a matter of principle.

According to Dr. Karen Butler, who treated the fugitive during his brief stay in jail, Darwin's prognosis is "quite bleak" because the cancer has spread to other organs.

Considering that prognosis, the local district attorney was less worried about releasing Darwin, who has a history of posting bail, fleeing, and committing more crimes.

Darwin is due in court on Monday pending the outcome of his surgery.

(H/T: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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