Day 2: HIV positive man on trial for assault after sex with 12 women

Andre Davis (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Andre Davis (Source: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The trial of Andre Davis continued Tuesday in a Hamilton County courtroom. Davis, 29, is facing 15 counts of felonious assault for being accused of having sex with 12 women and not telling them he is HIV positive.

Proceedings Tuesday began with testimony from the mother of Davis' two children.

"Shocked. I didn't know what to do," the mother responded when asked about her reaction to Davis' text message that he was HIV positive.

The woman later went on to say she shared the news of Davis' diagnosis with some of the other women he was sexually involved with.

"I told her the information I knew about Andre," the woman said.

"And what information was that?" the prosecutor asked.

"That he was HIV positive," responded the woman.

The next testimony came from a compliance officer who works for Quest Diagnostics, the company that conducted Davis' HIV blood test on July 16th, 2009 in Pittsburg.

The witness stated all Quest Diagnostic facilities are required to be certified by the College of American Pathologists.

Upon cross examination, the defense asked the Quest Diagnostics representative whether she could tell, based on the company's report, what company manufactured the blood test kit, what the model name was, or whether an expired test was used.

"Looking at this document you have here, you can't tell whether this test was performed in accordance with the instruction on the label, correct?" the defense questioned.

"Not from this report, no," the witness responded.

The defense then referenced 18 HIV tests that have been recalled in recent years. They say the recalls involved a calibration failure.

"[If there was] a problem with the kit or the reagent we would not be able to report the result because it would be so skewed in most instances it wouldn't be a credible report," the witness stated.

The witness later responded to a follow up question by saying their labs do not conduct FDA unapproved tests, and that the College of American Pathologists requires proof of FDA approved testing at least once a year.

She also went on to say if a test is conducted improperly or results in invalid findings, the standard procedure is to re-do the test. She says if a test is recalled, they are identified by the FDA and College of American Pathologists through a letter typically within a week and any remaining tests are pulled off the shelves.

Following the testimony by the Quest Diagnostics spokesperson, the prosecution called a former social worker with STOP AIDS. STOP AIDS was an agency that helped connect individuals with programs to obtain medications and educate clients about HIV and AIDS. The witness confirmed the organization no longer exists due to a loss of funding.

The witness stated it was a requirement to be diagnosed with the HIV virus to be a client with STOP AIDS and documentation was necessary to prove the diagnosis.

The defense pointed out, however, that the proof was not present in the evidence presented.

"Technically I would not say any of these documents say 'I know I'm HIV positive, however, once again, he would not have been at our agency if he was not HIV positive," the caseworker said in response.

The woman says she met Andre Davis in late 2009 when he came in with his then pregnant girlfriend. She stated part of the intake process was to review Ohio's felonious assault law and have the client sign documentation confirming they received that information.

"This form says a person who is informed of their HIV status is required by law as of March 2000 in the state of Ohio is required to disclose their status prior to having any sexual interaction with any individual," the case worker said reading from the documents.

The final witness called by the prosecution was a woman who says she had a sexual relationship with Davis spanning form 2009 to 2010.

When the prosecution referenced a conversation the witness had with Davis in August of 2009 the witness stated that Davis denied having been tested for HIV.

The prosecution says the indictments span from September 26, 2009 up until April 12, 2011.

Along with the 15 counts from Hamilton County, Davis also faces nine additional counts in Warren County and 11 in Butler County. If Davis is convicted, he could spend up to 120 years behind bars.

Throughout the jury selection and opening statements Monday, the Davis family sat behind Andre in support. His aunt tells FOX19 they are ready for the case to be over, although the proceedings have only just begun.

Andre Davis was smiling when he walked into the courtroom Monday.

"He's a nice guy. I mean, you don't come into a court room looking like a thug when you're charged with serious criminal charges. You come in confident and ready to go forward," said defense attorney Gregory Cohen. "Obviously he's extremely concerned. He's frightened. These are very serious charges leveled against him and he's hopeful."

Once the jury was selected and seated, the case moved forward quickly with opening statements Monday.

"This case is about sex," Cohen said, going on to argue that it is about sex with multiple partners whom he says made no attempt to protect themselves.

Tanter says all incidents were consensual in the strictest form of the term, but then went on to question whether the women were able to truly consent considering they were unaware of Davis' HIV positive status.

The prosecution argued it doesn't matter whether the victims contracted HIV or not. "Regardless of the outcome lives changes forever by the selfish decision of one person, that being the defendant," said Tranter.

The prosecution maintains that the women involved have done the right thing.

"These women are going to come before you and they're going to take the responsibility that this man [Davis] never did," said Tranter.

At the end of the day Monday, however, Davis' attorney questioned that argument. "We're calling individuals victims who are willing participants in risky sexual conduct," said Cohen.

Cohen says the women had a responsibility in the sexual exchanges as well. "You fly an airplane you do a pre-flight check," said Cohen. "These women did not take responsibility for their own bodies and now come in here and demand justice."

He questions whether the prosecution will be able to meet their burden of proof; a prosecution that decided not to speak with FOX19 on camera Monday.

The prosecution reminded the jury Monday that they do not have to prove motive, malice, or that Davis intended to inflict harm. Tranter also stated the state does not have to prove Davis intended to spread virus.

Tanter says the mother of Davis' two children found out Davis was HIV positive in July 2009 when he was applying for a job with the WWE which required the test. Tanter says the two then visited an organization "STOP AIDS" in December of 2009 and met with a social worker.

Tanter says there is evidence of paperwork signed by the defendant that explained his duties a person who had been diagnosed with a positive HIV test.

Cohen says the defense may decide not to put Davis on the stand.

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