A 36-year-old Midland man was sentenced to 120 years in prison Thursday for knowingly transmitting the HIV virus to four women.
Judge Rodney Satterwhite sentenced Derick Nhekairo to serve two consecutive 60-year sentences of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury, with the remaining two sentences of 60 years and 20 years to run concurrently with the 120 years.
Nhekairo also is required to pay $32,000 in fines for the four charges.
He was arrested July 6, 2012, on one of the aggravated assault charges, a second-degree felony. He initially pleaded not guilty to the charge Tuesday, but changed his plea to guilty in the four cases after testimony began, according to previous Reporter-Telegram records.
The trial resumed at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday in 441st District Court.
Prosecutor Lara Nodolf said she was able to support the evidence that Nhekairo’s penis and bodily fluid were used as deadly weapons in the four cases. She said he admitted to practicing unprotected s*x with 18 different women after contracting the virus in 2002.
Nodolf said it was important to prosecute Nhekairo because many people do not know that is a crime to knowingly transmit HIV to other s*xual partners.
“The victims of this type of crime are underrepresented and don’t always know their options,” She said. “If you report it, we can prosecute it.”
The first victim to come forward and report Nhekairo to the health department spoke with the Reporter-Telegram, saying she was very happy with the sentencing.
The victim said when she contracted HIV from Nhekairo, the illness rapidly progressed into AIDS due to a pre-existing blood disorder.
She said she experienced AIDS neuropathy, which left her unable to walk for nearly a year. The victim, now on medication for the virus, said she has since been diagnosed as “undetectable.” This means that she still is HIV positive but the disease’s chance of transmission is greatly decreased, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The victim said it’s important for any women who have had s*xual encounters with Nhekairo should come forward and get tested for HIV. She also recommended that men and women use safety measures each time they engage in s*xual activity.
Texas was one of 35 states to have prosecuted someone successfully for intentionally and recklessly infecting someone with the HIV virus, according to previous records.