A Georgia pastor was found guilty Tuesday (January 21) of two counts of reckless HIV exposure, which is a felony. Craig Lamar Davis of Stone Mountain knowingly exposed two women to the disease after hiding his HIV-positive status from them.
Davis, 43, and now divorced, was a married minister who had an affair with two women and failed to tell them he was living with HIV. The trial was the first of its kind to be held in Clayton County, and the attorney of the only publicly known victim, Ronita McAfee, views the verdict as a victory according to a report from CBS Atlanta.
From McAfee's attorney:
We believe that the Jury's decision to convict Mr. Davis contradicts the Defense Counsels' reckless and audacious comments.
These irresponsible comments were nothing more than a failed, desperate and cowardly attempt to slander my client. We are hopeful that this verdict will give others the courage and strength to come forward to bring this individual to justice.
Davis denied any sexual relationship with McAfee but did admit to an affair with a Fulton County woman. The pastor faces similar charges there as well, and Davis' defense team stated that Tuesday's verdict makes their case more difficult.
“It's hard to override 30-plus years of HIV prejudice and hysteria,” John Turner, Davis' attorney stated. “The jury's decision reflects that. We clearly established reasons to question the results of [HIV testing]. We handed them reasonable doubt on a platter but they chose to disregard it.”
In one of the more interesting developments of the case, an outside expert claimed that Davis' HIV diagnosis may have been skewed due to his use of crack cocaine. Davis also said during trial he knew of his HIV status since 2005.
Of the women Davis was said to have slept with, only a woman in Clayton County has tested positive for HIV. McAfee has been tested negative for the disease.
Hit the jump to see a report from WSB-TV regarding the case.
Photo: CBS Atlanta