MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile neurosurgeon charged in the crash that killed a medical student in 2020 was back in court Thursday morning asking for more freedoms under his bond so that he can work.
Jonathan Nakhla stood before a judge Thursday morning asking permission to travel from Mobile to his father’s home in Daphne to work, and to take care of his rental property in Gulf Shores.
He and his attorney explained to the judge he needs to use a specialized computer to work on developing a few electronic devices that could be used in wheelchairs and child seats.
“The bond should be as least restrictive as possible. Dr. Nakhla has not been able to work for nearly two years. He is at home trying to develop some devices that can help handicapped people and that sort of thing,” said Dennis Knizley, Nakhla’s attorney.
The Mobile County District Attorney adamantly opposed the request.
“They called it a job but there was no proof he had an income from it, there was no proof he got any money from it. Certainly, he shouldn’t be able to drive to that location. We’re very concerned about this. We do not think the terms and conditions of the bond should be modified,” said Ashley Rich, the Mobile County District Attorney.
“We’re not asking he be off electronic monitoring, we’re not asking him to be able to drive, we’re asking he be able to travel to work as so many people are that are on electronic monitoring,” said Knizley.
Nakhla is accused of driving at speeds more than 130 miles per hour when he crashed his car on west I-65 service road shortly after midnight on Aug. 1, 2020. Prosecutors say he was drunk. Samantha Thomas was a passenger in the car at the time and was killed in the crash. She was a third-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.
Her father and stepmother were in court Thursday morning. Her stepmother, Christiana Hoff, read a statement to the judge asking him to deny the request.
“I needed to do for Harold [Samantha’s father] and the family and to let everyone know and the judge know how it’s impacted our life. She’s not coming back. And you know people are not allowed freedoms if they do something, and he made a conscious decision to get behind the wheel, and his conscious decision cost him his medical license,” said Hoff. “[And] decapitated my daughter,” added Samantha’s father, Harold Thomas.
The judge did not make a ruling yet, telling the court he wanted to reflect on the request in the quiet in his chambers, and would have a ruling shortly. It’s not clear when that will be.
“I trust our system, they’re doing our jobs. We sit back and wait,” said Thomas.