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Thursday 9 April 2009

US: Nushawn Williams denied parole

Nushawn Williams, whose 1997 arrest in New York State unleashed a wave of media hysteria, and several new HIV-specific laws in the US, has been denied parole again.

He was sentenced to between four and twelve years in prison back in 1998, after pleading guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment and one count each of criminal sale of a controlled substance and statutory rape. He has been denied for parole every time he has been eligible and will now serve the full twelve years.

According to the Jamestown Post-Journal:

The parole board determined that an early release for Williams ''would be incompatible with the welfare of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law,'' according to the decision.

''Your barbaric and perverse actions committed upon your unsuspecting and defenseless victims ... clearly demonstrates the extremely grave danger you pose to society,'' the decision reads.


In 1997, Williams, 20 at the time, was the center of a media spectacle the likes of which Jamestown and Chautauqua County had never before seen.

Formerly a resident of Jamestown, Williams had been arrested by New York City police for selling crack to an undercover agent. In an unprecedented move Oct. 27, 1997, county public health officials went public with his HIV status since he was believed to have infected untold numbers with the disease.

At the time, authorities argued Williams knew full well he was HIV positive and could very well spread the virus to others when he had indiscriminate sex with dozens of local women, some of them below the legal age of consent. Williams maintains he was not aware of his HIV status. Some argue that even if he was aware, he did not take it seriously enough to curb his promiscuous behavior.

In the end, it was learned that Williams had infected 13 women, 11 of them in Chautauqua County, with HIV. As of October, the 10th anniversary of Williams' arrest, all of his victims were reportedly healthy.

He is now scheduled to be released on April 13, 2010.

The case of Nushawn Williams was examined in an excellent book by Thomas Shevory entitled Notorious H.I.V.: The Media Spectacle of Nushawn Williams.



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