A fourth woman took the witness stand Tuesday to allege that a 29-year-old Lawrence man knowingly exposed her to HIV.
In a preliminary hearing in District Court, the 31-year-old woman testified she met Robert W. Richardson II last summer while working with him at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
She said Richardson told her he had a heart condition that would cause him to die within 10 years - but that he told her after their first of approximately eight sexual encounters that he had no sexually transmitted diseases. She said she didn't know he was HIV-positive until reading about him in the Journal-World.
Richardson, who appeared in the courtroom in a jail jumpsuit, is being held in the Douglas County Jail. In addition to the four cases here, charges against him also are pending in Johnson County, Mo., and Emporia.
Judge Stephen Six ordered Richardson to stand trial Aug. 23, and he entered a formal not-guilty plea. He is scheduled to stand trial separately in three other cases in Douglas County later this summer.
Richardson, a member of Kansas University's Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, was active in online discussion boards where he was known by names including "PoeticHeteroSapien."
Two victims have testified they met him in online communities.
Like the other alleged victims in Douglas County, the woman who testified Tuesday said she has tested negative so far for HIV.
More about the case
- 6News video: Woman testifies against Richardson
- New charge filed in HIV exposure case (05-24-06)
- 6News video: Police arrest man for fourth HIV exposure (05-23-06)
- Man in HIV exposure case faces new charges (05-12-06)
- 6News video: Bond decision reversed in HIV case (05-11-06)
- Trials ordered for HIV exposure (05-03-06)
Richardson's attorney, Thomas Johnson, asked Six to reduce his client's $100,000 bond, which he has been unable to post. After the first charge was filed against Richardson, his bond was $3,500, but it grew with each new case filed against him.
Johnson called the high bond "clearly excessive," given that the new charges resulted from women coming forward about past encounters with Richardson - not from new incidents that happened while he was free on bond.
But Six said the bond was appropriate, citing factors including a risk to public safety based on the number of alleged victims.
Six warned prosecutors at the end of the hearing that they had not presented any evidence to show that HIV is a "life-threatening, communicable disease." It may be common knowledge, but under rules of evidence that must be established and proven in a criminal case.
Six found the evidence put on was barely enough to meet the burden of proof at preliminary hearing.
"There better be some other evidence at trial," Six said.
"We do have medical testimony that will be presented," Assistant Dist. Atty. Trent Krug said.
Richardson worked for KDHE as an environmental technician from summer 2004 until earlier this month, according to the state.