Man who spread HIV without telling his partners faces victim in court
The young woman said all she wanted was someone with whom she could build a life. Instead, she received the HIV virus. X on Wednesday was sentenced to 1.5 to four years in prison for intentionally spreading AIDS to his unknowing sexual partners.
“In one night, X took away my hopes and dreams,” said the woman, who was studying to get her master’s degree in social work at Grand Valley State University prior to being infected in 2008. “What he did — infect myself and others with HIV — is a selfish and cowardly act.”
The woman told Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Buth that she believes that X’s crime should be considered a violent sex crime.
The sentencing guidelines “are weak compared to the enormity of the crime,” she said.
X allegedly told police he wanted to spread HIV to kill as many people as possible and was originally charged with two counts of sex with an uninformed partner. As of January, Grand Rapids police believed there could be a number of additional victims.
“His latest fantasy is strangling a woman and having sex with her dead body,” a police detective wrote in an affidavit.
The detective said the victim involved in the dismissed charge told police she eventually found X’s medication, presumably to counteract HIV.
She did not know he had HIV until that point, the detective said.
X underwent a psychiatric exam and then pleaded guilty to one crime in exchange for the other count being dismissed. Smith has no prior criminal record.
X offered the victim an apology, saying he took advantage of her trust.
“All you did was offer me your love,” he said. “You shared your hopes and dreams.”
Attorney Richard Zambon requested the court to apply the minimum sentence under state guidelines, ranging from zero to 17 months. If he is behind bars for less than a year, it would have been in the Kent County Jail not state prison.