An Ohio man has been charged with murder after his girlfriend died of AIDS.
Ronald Murdock, 51, is accused of not telling his longtime girlfriend that he was HIV-positive, reports the New York Post.
Murdock was indicted on the February death of Kimberly Klempner, who died from having AIDS, according to her death certificate. He was also charged with felonious assault. Bond was set at $1.5 million on June 6.
According to the indictment, Murdock and Klempner had unprotected sex when he knew he was HIV positive, but he did not tell her. They were involved in a five-year relationship, said the victim's son, Josh Klempner.
Murdock’s wife discovered that Murdock and Kimberly were having an affair, and subsequently revealed to Kimberly that Murdock was HIV positive, the police report notes.
"By the time she found out and by the time everything was said and done, it was way too late," said the son. "She would have done anything for that man. And for him not to come out in the beginning and tell her what was going on was not right."
Ohio is one of 34 U.S. states and territories that have criminal statutes which allow prosecutions for allegations of non-disclosure, exposure and (although not required) transmission of the HIV virus, reports London-based organization Aidsmap.
Prosecutions have occurred in at least 39 states under HIV-specific criminal laws or general criminal laws. Most of these laws treat HIV exposure as a felony, and people convicted under these laws are serving sentences of 30 years or more.
In one particularly notable case in 2008, a Texas jury convicted an HIV-positive man to 35 years in jail after concluding that his saliva was a "deadly weapon."
In March, an HIV-positive man was sentenced to 18 months in jail for having unprotected sex with two women. In that case, Daniel G. Cleaves was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment as a result of the sexual encounters, reports The Washington Post.
On different nights in 2014, he met women at a bar in downtown Bethesda, Maryland, and subsequently had unprotected sex with them. However, he did not tell them he was infected with HIV.
Cleaves' lawyer successfully argued that he had been taking antiretroviral drugs that greatly reduce the risk of spreading the virus, and a plea deal was reached. The HIV-related counts, which make it illegal to “knowingly transfer or attempt to transfer” HIV to another person, were dropped, and Cleaves pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of reckless endangerment.