Archive for Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Fourth witness testifies in HIV exposure case

Judge sets trial date, calls for more evidence that disease is life-threatening

June 7, 2006

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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.

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.

Comments

Michael Birch 9 years, 2 months ago

Richardson is what I would call a "serial HIV infector."

Hopefully, the judges who preside over his cases will

keep him in jail on a no-bond as he is obviously a

danger to society. How could someone who knew they

had HIV knowingly spread it to another person? It

doesn't say much about people! A sign of the times I

suppose. One thing is for sure though and that is quite

simply that we need to be even more careful than we

were before!

Good Morning Everybody-Good Day and Happy Posting

DHD

Kelly Powell 9 years, 2 months ago

Good morning! The Defense is arguing there is no conclusive proof hiv is deadly?......Well then if any of these women contracted it from him then any assistance he is getting for his chemical cocktail to keep it in check should go to her..... let's see how long he lives without it.

Redzilla 9 years, 2 months ago

Stop, Smitty! Yer killin' me. Porcupines.

Centrist 9 years, 2 months ago

Solomon .... 8 times in a YEAR is excessive????

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 2 months ago

Welcome to Lawrence, Solomon. Which Amish community did you last live in? Around here, sex outside of marriage is "normal". It is the new definition of purity. Eight DIFFERENT PEOPLE in one year wouldn't be out of the ordinary. I'm not endorsing it, I'm just reporting it.

Another thing: Don't post any comments that draw connections between sexual promiscuity, morality and HIV. You will wind up in the mother of internet flame wars.

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years, 2 months ago

I agree with, old enough , that subject is a bad road to travel. it down right scary. but agnosticks Idea might work.

dozer 9 years, 2 months ago

Courtroom code? Give me a break Marion. It isn't code, it's pretty clear the the judge wants a live witness to testify that HIV is a life threatenting disease at trial.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 2 months ago

I think that this sort of "courtroom code" is appropriate. Justice cannot be served if the process breaks down. I wonder how many times the system has bogged down because someone forgot to have a witness get on the stand and say "bullets are deadly" in an attempted murder case. Mistrials stink, says this taxpayer.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 2 months ago

Rats. I never thought of it that way. His crime is truly the "gift that keeps on giving". Everyone loses.

Except Fred Phelps. He's got to be loving this.

dozer 9 years, 2 months ago

Marion - Old enough's post makes my point. You post some "courtroom code" bull and make it sound like there are back channel communications going on between the prosecution and the judge. There was no "courtroom code", there was however, a clear statement by the judge that there had better be a witness to talk about HIV. There is nothing improper about that, so don't leave that impression with people.

AlexFenton 9 years, 2 months ago

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years, 2 months ago

yeah know the other day everyone one up in arms about one of his exs and us paying for her meds. Heck people how much are we paying to keep him in jail? now that is the crime, well yeah he is a low life and do not mean this how it sounds, we should pay 0 for him. for some reason I just can not get this out the way I want so I give up because he is not worth my time....

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years, 2 months ago

I know what alot of people would like to do but.... there are laws and yeah way to much always in all things that pesky catch 22. DARN why?

Sigmund 9 years, 2 months ago

Due process is costly but it is the price we pay if we want a government with limited authority to deprive citizens of their liberty or property. Democracies are never as efficient as dictatorships. That said I would rather pay to incarerate this blob of biohazardous waste than to pay for more victims meds.

But even if it is convicted and assuming it has no other criminal history, it is likely to get no prison time. A Level 7 felony with no previous criminal history would fall on the sentencing grid as a "I-7". That is presumptive probation. A copy of the grid is here.

http://www.sedgwickcounty.org/da/sentencing_grid.html

Read it and weap. I doubt this piece of infected puss will want to hang around Lawrence, though. It might discover a whole new meaning for the term "unsafe sex".

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years, 2 months ago

the da road sometimes we should just get off the beaten path. Sigmund I hope to God and He that this time the grid gets lost in the paper work. I know that makes me evil does it not.

justsomewench 9 years, 2 months ago

Marion, you need new material, man. Anyhow, it's starting to look more like a video game for the LJW staff deleting the links to your website than a discussion.

justsomewench 9 years, 2 months ago

poof

(it's against the ToS, enforcer. the end.)

xfactor 9 years, 2 months ago

This was only a prelim., not much to expound upon. You guys need to get jobs.

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