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Thursday, 17 September 2009

US: Idaho man's third criminal HIV exposure conviction nets him 20-30 years (updated)

Update: Sept 17 2009. Thomas has been sentenced to 20-30 years in prison for his third HIV exposure conviction

Here's part of Idaho TV station,'s, report:

Thomas' defense involved a number of people he worked with at Sel Equity -- all character witnesses, who told the judge how good Thomas was at his job. Thomas also spoke to the court and apologized to his victim. "First and foremost, I do take responsibility for the harm that I've done to Diana, to her family," said Thomas. But this is far from his first offense. He was convicted of similar crimes in 1988 and 1996 and did a number of years behind bars. So it seemed strange that this time his attorney would ask the judge for a 30-year sentence -- most of which being spent doing community service instead of prison time. "He is in a unique position with his intelligence, his ability to be articulate, to actually make a difference in people's lives," said his attorney. The judge disagreed. "As I said today, even your victim feels sorry for you, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be punished, and punished severely," said the Hon. Michael Wetherell. "The 20-year consecutive sentence that he imposed was meant to send this defendant a message that we're not going to tolerate this any more," said Jean Fisher, Ada County deputy prosecutor.

Original post: March 13 2009. Kerry Thomas, 45, who was the first person to be convicted under Idaho's HIV exposure law in 1996 (see the 1999 appeal documents here), has been charged again following a complaint from a woman last December.

According to,

Boise Police say they found out Thomas had a sexual relationship with a woman and transferred the virus to her.

The story has made the national news. According to a CNN online report, this is actually the third time Mr Thomas has been accused of criminal HIV exposure or transmission.

In 1990, Thomas was charged with four counts of HIV transmission and two counts of statutory rape, Fisher said. As part of a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty only to the rape charges...[He] received a 12-year sentence and had to serve three years before being eligible for parole. He was later granted early release. In 1996, however, Thomas was again charged with one count of HIV transmission, and a jury convicted him, Fisher said. He received a 15-year sentence with a seven-year minimum. Now out on parole, Thomas faces possible life in prison on the new charges because prosecutors are seeking his designation as a "persistent violator."



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