Archive for Tuesday, October 3, 2006

4 guilty counts in HIV case

Three women were exposed, jury finds

October 3, 2006


A jury on Monday convicted a Lawrence man of exposing three women to HIV in what may be the first HIV-exposure case ever tried in Kansas.

About 10:30 a.m., jurors returned a verdict finding Robert W. Richardson II guilty of four counts of HIV-exposure involving three women - all of whom had unprotected sex with him without knowing of his condition. The jury found him not guilty of exposing a fourth woman, who knew Richardson was HIV-positive but testified he took a condom off during sex.

Jurors said they were appalled by the 30-year-old Richardson's deceptions with the women, most of all his explanation that his health problems were caused by a heart condition. He claimed he was being truthful by saying he had a "H.A.A.R.T." condition, or Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy - his name for his HIV-treatment drug regimen.

"I think he was a deceiver, a manipulator," said juror Kathy Perkins of Eudora.

Jurors found that Richardson meant to expose the women, despite his claim he didn't think he was contagious given the drugs he was taking, which he said kept his virus count low.


Amy McGowan talks about changes she thinks are necessary to the state's HIV-exposure law, after the verdict was returned in the Robert W. Richardson II case. Enlarge video

"I think he was lying to himself as much as he was lying to them," juror Melissa Padgett said afterward. "It makes me feel sorry for him in a way, but you don't have the right to play with other people like that."

Douglas County Assistant Dist. Attys. Amy McGowan and Trent Krug, who prosecuted the case, said they thought more victims might come forward given the verdict. Two victims came forward earlier this year only after reading about Richardson's pending charges in the Journal-World.

Richardson met two of the women online, one through work at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and one through Kansas University's chapter of the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics.

"There's almost a serial aspect to it. ... We have concerns that there may be more women out there who, for whatever personal reasons, might not want to come forward," McGowan said. "We would ask that they do that if they wish."

Technically, Richardson was found guilty of "exposing another to a life-threatening communicable disease," a felony. McGowan said it would be helpful if Kansas had an HIV-specific law.

As far as the attorneys involved know, it's the first HIV-exposure case to be tried in Kansas, though the law has been on the books since the early 1990s.

"This is a solid result for the victims," Krug said. "I'm impressed with their resolve, and I think they're happy with the verdicts."

Defense attorney Thomas Johnson said he would appeal the verdict.

Richardson is due for sentencing Nov. 22. McGowan said Richardson faces likely probation under Kansas' sentencing guidelines. But the conviction means he would face prison if convicted on pending HIV-exposure cases in Lyon and Wyandotte counties. He also has a charge pending in Johnson County, Mo.


Rick Aldrich 11 years, 7 months ago

maybe he should be exposed so somthing like ebollo maybe. nobody will remember these poor women later in life when dealing with their illness.

rwales 11 years, 7 months ago

The article said he would not get jail time do to kansas guidlines. How is this a victory for his victims or the others he will infect when he is back on the street in November?

grace 11 years, 7 months ago

I am not clear about how many women actually contracted the disease from this man. However, OF COURSE the act of exposing someone to HIV is criminally punishable, even if the victim didn't contract the disease. Similarly, there are many actions which involve attempt that are also crimes. Do you think that attempted murder should be criminally punishable? Attempted rape? ETC.

ControlFreak 11 years, 7 months ago

No, completely serious.

Tell me how many people have escaped death?

I'm offering a philosophical insight.

Inevitably, we all die. That is a fact of life. You are not really going to argue are you?

What I am suggesting is that diseases (such as HIV/AIDS) potentially shorten someone's life. I life that will inevitably end, however, just like everyone else.

What Richardson did was expose these women to a disease that could potentially shorten their lifespan.

ControlFreak 11 years, 7 months ago

Should have been "A life" not "I life."

Sorry about that.

ControlFreak 11 years, 7 months ago

I would like to point out that life is a fatal disease.

What your talking about Marion is the shortening of a life, not the ending of it.

I do believe this guy had intent to harm, however, and his conviction justified.

Baille 11 years, 7 months ago

Slow down, Marion. Deep breaths, big guy.

It is good to see this guy convicted. I have friends who have had limited dealings with him in the past and thought him to be extremely cavalier with the possibility of passing on the AIDS virus.

The issue of intent (And it pains me to see you use the lay definition, Marion. You need to ratchet it up a notch.) was decided on a weighing of the facts by the jurors - as it should be. The defense attorney made a laudable and credible argument that, imo, was rightly defeated.

However, there remains a very real question on the constitutionality of the statute under which this guy was convicted. It would be very sad indeed if the unexcusable sloppiness of our legislators resulted in this guy's convictions being overturned, but that is a very real possibility. Sadly, and I don't know the history of this statute, the statute under which he was convicted has serious problems. An appeal is inevitable. This battle is far from over, people. Hope you all stay in it for the long-haul.

ControlFreak 11 years, 7 months ago

Even ugly people need love Vince.

Your also forgetting the drunk factor.

Moderateguy 11 years, 7 months ago

As the old comedy record said, "Bailiff, whack his pee-pee."

Becca 11 years, 7 months ago

"ugly love is the reason we have so many grandparents raising thier ugly kids children"

Macon, that was highly uncalled for.

ControlFreak 11 years, 7 months ago

Sure, Marion, if you want to use that comparison. Except that, no one actually got HIV from Richardson right?

So basically it would be like someone just showing someone else a switchblade. Scary, but not really damaging.

Hey and 230 grain slugs don't kill people, people kill people.

lonelyboy 11 years, 7 months ago

Did anyone catch the pics on the news last night of him in his pirate/ Orland Bloom hat ,,,,,,,,,, haaaaaaaaaaaa what a cry for help. Sad to think he could get probation here in DG county....

ControlFreak 11 years, 7 months ago

You are obviously too emotionally invested in this issue to have a true philosophical discussion, Marion.

It is unfortunate, because I don't disagree with you. I only disagree with the way you choose to argue your point.

oldvet 11 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps, CF, we should forgive and forget the tobacco companies who only "shorten" lives... or the industrial chemical contamination, since it only "shortens" lives... or Exxon, since the Valdez spill only trashed a little bit of the Alaskan environment for a "short" time... this guy acted with wanton disregard for human life and should get the punishment that accompanies that criminal activity. Too bad they can't give him probation on the first count, prison on the second count, long prison on the third count and forever on the fourth count...

trinity 11 years, 7 months ago

oh c'mon now, nary a one tobacco company has ever threatened myself or my first, second, or thirdborne to get me to use their product. i did that all by my lonesome, and i'd never hold the tobacco company responsible for my stupidity. so there.

Baille 11 years, 7 months ago

He didn't threaten the ladies to have sex with him, either. Merely deceived them. This could be compared to the tobacco companies advertisements up through the early 70s (and arguably beyond). However, we are comparing a criminal matter with a civil matter, which invalidates the analogy altogether.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 7 months ago

hey macon, I'm as ugly as three miles of bad road....but I can knock boots baby!

lonelyboy 11 years, 7 months ago

RRRRRRRRRRRRRR,,,mate with me .. ... I'm Capt. Jack Swallow..............rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

What ever will they do in the next 'Pirates of the Carribean' movie, without one of their main characters. Hopefully he gets work release.

Bone777 11 years, 7 months ago

There are lots of people that are on the low end of the 1-10 scale.

Add that to the drunk factor, the rebound factor, the lonely factor, the tough childhood factor, the bored factor, the do something dangerous factor, etc.........

and finding someone to 'knock boots' with is not that difficult

Mike Birch 11 years, 7 months ago

I know what Richardson did was not too cool but at the same time I feel as though the women he infected should take resposibilty for their own actions as well.
Lets face the facts! In this day and age, you use protection. You know the risks and should be aware of the consequences. When you have unprotected sex, you are taking a chance. Its hard to believe that anyone would want to date and have sex with someone they met on the internet. The article suggests that most of the jurors were women so I doubt he had much of a chance at getting any type of acquittal. Folks, do yourselves a favor and use condons! There is no excuse no to do so alright. These women who complain about being infected are as bad as the men who complain about having to pay child support because they chose not to use a condom. Take responsibility for you own actions! DHD

rooga 11 years, 7 months ago

I havent had sex in 6 months, and this guy is!! What is wrong with these WOMEN!!! Listen everybody dont be mad at him, look at the women who are having sex with this guy. Send some of these women my way!! And Im CLEAN!!

Confrontation 11 years, 7 months ago

Rooga-You can't be from Lawrence. If you are, then you must be missing out on all the "make love, not war" hippies.

Becca 11 years, 7 months ago

The make love, not war hippies are all at home. Doing exactly that. ;)

justthefacts 11 years, 7 months ago

DownHomeDude get your facts straight. At least one of the women in this case DID make sure he had on a condom...but he removed it when she wasn't looking!!! So, what is your answer now? Is the woman still to blame for him doing that? Should all women refuse to have sex with all men, without a wedding ring? Bet some men will hate that rule!

Laura 11 years, 7 months ago

I don't care how drunk I've been, I'm sure I would not have allowed this guy to lay a hand on me! I'm glad I'm not the only one who is focusing on the purely "asthetic" aspect of this thing. Horrible! I'd rather get in bed with my dog!!!

guppypunkhead 11 years, 7 months ago

YES! So glad of the guilty charge! This ahem, jerk, took advantage of a couple of my friends when they were young and drunk. Thank god they weren't exposed.

Every dollar he makes the rest of his life should go towards treatment for any of his victims that turn up positive. Either way he should definitely be castrated.

Maybe to get laid he put a paper bag over his head?

Becca 11 years, 7 months ago

I just realized, after looking closely at his picture, that this creep hit on me at a bar in Emporia. I didn't know what his name was, and something just told me to avoid him like the plague. I'm glad I did.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 7 months ago

A wedding ring is no guarantee, justthefacts, that some guy hasn't been fooling around and picked up some nasty little virus or something.

So I guess, with the asinine beliefs of some of the posters here, that every woman should protect herself, even the married women. Guess they'll just have to tell the guys no all the time, since it's so dangerous.

Get ready for that revolution, gentlemen...

Sigmund 11 years, 7 months ago

I still believe the KS Statute is unconstitutionally vague even though Judge Six disagrees, and as I have mentioned before, his opinion counts more than mine in these matters! There will be an appeal and there may yet be someone whose opinion counts more than Judge Six who agrees with me.

That said, I think this statute needs to be rewritten and violation should be a more serious felony with longer sentences, and while I disagreed with civil committment for "sexual predetors" until they are "cured", this kind of case and offenders cry out for civil committment.

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