Updated Wed, Aug 28, 2013 6:11 am
A trial began Tuesday for an Athens man charged with felonious assault for allegedly having sex with a woman after he knew he had tested positive for HIV.
Dennis Broadnax, 58, heard his former girlfriend testify in Athens County Common Pleas Court that she didn’t know he had HIV until they had broken up and she found his medication for the disease while gathering belongings.
“At the time I considered Mr. Broadnax my boyfriend, I thought he was Mr. Right,” the woman said. “I had no idea he had HIV.”
But with documents shown to her by defense attorneys, the woman confirmed she had written a statement involving a conversation in which she overheard a nurse telling Broadnax about HIV.
The defense argued in opening statements that she knew about Broadnax’s diagnosis all along.
After the woman found out she had been exposed to the immuno-virus, she went to the emergency room. Her tests for the disease have since been negative, but she must continue having annual tests for a total of 10 years, she testified Tuesday.
Broadnax and the woman met when she lived at an apartment complex on Hope Drive in Athens. They struck up a friendship, and after a week were having sex. Broadnax stayed over from time to time, the woman said, and had clothes and belongings at her apartment.
Their relationship lasted from December 2011 to March 2012, and it was in March that she found the pills and realized she had had unprotected sex with a man with HIV, according to her testimony.
“If I knew that he had HIV, I wouldn’t jeopardize my life by, like, getting the HIV also,” the woman said on the stand.
The woman suffers from various other medical issues and takes medication, about which the defense questioned her.
Although she admitted being on a pill count for her medication — being required by her doctor to account for her medication — she denied having taken any of the medication she found to be Broadnax’s to sell or to take herself.
The defense also brought up a document she had written that said she had overheard a nurse visiting Broadnax at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Chillicothe tell him about HIV. In it, she said the date of the conversation was Feb. 24, 2012, before the two broke up.
“He had his cell phone on speaker, I heard the VA nurse telling him that he had HIV,” the woman read from the statement. “So when Dennis returned to Athens, I had asked Dennis if he had HIV, he said ‘no, the nurse was just educating me about HIV.’”
The defense said Tuesday that Broadnax has decided to testify at the trial.
The trial continues Wednesday. County Assistant Prosecutor Mickey Prisley estimated the presentation of evidence will last until Thursday.