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Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2006

HIV-exposure trial to begin next week

September 23, 2006

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A court hearing Friday finalized plans for the upcoming jury trial of a Lawrence man charged with exposing four women to HIV.

Robert W. Richardson II, 30, appeared in Douglas County District Court, where his defense attorney and a prosecutor made arguments about what evidence will be excluded from trial.

For example, Judge Stephen Six granted prosecutors' request to not allow the defense to ask about whether the alleged victims ever contracted HIV.

All four women have said they tested negative, but Six found it wasn't relevant given that the criminal law covering HIV exposure doesn't require the victim to actually contract the disease. Six also ruled that defense attorney Thomas Johnson can't use testimony from a psychologist who evaluated Richardson and found he didn't believe Richardson intended to expose the women to HIV.

The question of Richardson's intent, the judge said, is for the jury to answer.

Jury selection in the trial will begin Tuesday afternoon, and opening statements will begin Wednesday morning.

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