Sweeney gives Youngstown woman 7 years in HIV sex case
X walked into Mahoning County Common Pleas Court clutching a Bible. She walked out in handcuffs.
Judge Maureen A. Sweeney on Thursday sentenced X, 24, of North Lima, to seven years in prison on a charge of felonious assault for pleading guilty to having sex with two men despite the fact she knew she is infected with the HIV virus that can lead to AIDS.
She pleaded guilty to the charge July 15 and had been free on bond until her sentencing.
Assistant Prosecutor Michael Yacovone had recommended a sentence of between four and six years, while defense attorney James Melone asked for probation. Judge Sweeney did not give a reason why she went above the recommendation.
X and her mother burst into tears when the sentence was announced. Melone asked the judge to reconsider her sentence. She refused.
Melone said he will appeal.
Yacovone said prison is necessary because the two men X had sex with are serving sentences themselves, having to undergo testing every six months to see if they are infected with the virus.
“To me, those two men have life sentences,” Yacovone said. “They don’t know what’s in the future for them.”
Yacovone said he researched similar cases and four to six years is the typical sentence.
Melone said his client has mental-health issues and was given a mixture of medications that affected her behavior when combined with alcohol.
Melone also said X has a minimal criminal record – a disorderly conduct charge years ago. She also is pregnant, and the pregnancy is deemed high-risk.
“She is not the monster the prosecution is painting her to be,” Melone said. “Her decisions she made in this case were kind of the perfect storm.”
Melone also said X’ nurse told him her level of HIV is so low that it is “almost undetectable.”
Clutching her Bible by her side the entire time, X tearfully apologized and was so shaken up she could speak no further.
“I would just like a chance, a second chance, to get my life back,” X said through tears.
Melone also asked the judge if X’ mother could speak. The judge denied his request.
Deputies then led X away to be taken to the county jail before she is sent to prison.
Woman pleads guilty in HIV assault case
Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of between four and six years for a woman who pleaded guilty to having sex while knowingly having the HIV virus.
X, 24, of North Lima, pleaded guilty today in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court before Judge Maureen Sweeney to a count of felonious assault.
In exchange for her plea, another charge of felonious assault and a charge of falsification were dropped.
Assistant Prosecutor Michael Yacovone said X was accused of having unprotected sex with her boyfriend and one other man in 2014.