Restitution order reversed for HIV-positive Mentor man accused of spitting on two people
An HIV-positive Mentor man accused of spitting on a woman and a male police officer should not get a new trial, the 11th District Court of Appeals ruled recently.
However, the appellate court has asked a Lake County Common Pleas Court judge to reconsider whether 47-year-old JX has the ability to pay the full $13,000 restitution to the female victim.
X went to trial in October 2015 for misdemeanor assault and harassment with a bodily substance, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
The indictment stemmed from a confrontation Jevnikar had with a shopper at the Mentor Giant Eagle. The shopper claimed X spit on and hit her after he tailgated her car in the store parking lot.
The woman claimed X began cursing at her after she got out of her vehicle about the way she was driving.
After she reportedly told him to “have a good day,” he allegedly spit in her face and she slapped him. Surveillance camera videos clearly show X hitting her in the throat, but the spitting incident was unclear.
The woman went to the emergency room for throat swelling and difficulty swallowing. After later learning he has AIDS, she had to have blood drawn periodically to check for HIV. She said she continues to suffer from neck stiffness.
A jury found him guilty of assault but not guilty of harassment with a bodily substance.
The next month, X pleaded guilty to attempted harassment with a bodily substance and assault, felonies with maximum penalties of up to 18 months in prison each. In that case, X was accused of kicking and spitting on a Mentor officer who suspected him of drunk driving.
Judge Richard L. Collins Jr. sentenced X for both cases in December 2015 to serve a total of 28 months in prison, plus pay $13,000 in restitution to the shopper.
X appealed his prison sentence, claiming he has little chance of infecting others because he takes his medications. The appellate court affirmed his sentence.
However, 11th District Judge Diane V. Grendell noted in her opinion that Collins should have considered whether any of the medical bills submitted for the restitution were related to the charge for which X was acquitted.
In addition, some of the woman’s medical treatment may be covered by insurance, Grendell noted.
X argued he is unable to pay such a “large” restitution order since he is unable to work due to his AIDS.
The appellate court said the lower court may hold a future hearing to determine whether X is able to pay the financial sanction.
Eleventh District judges Thomas R. Wright and Colleen Mary O’Toole concurred.