AFRICANGLOBE – Jury selection is underway in the case of Georgia Pastor, Craig Lamar Davis, who is accused of deliberately spreading HIV to two female members of his congregation.
Pastor Craig Lamar Davis of Clayton County faces two counts of reckless HIV, a felony under Georgia law punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
A national group that disputes the reliability of HIV testing has come to his defense, making the case one of dozens nationally that put the tests on trial.
Davis, who lives in south Fulton, was arrested in July 2012 by Atlanta police. A Union City woman told authorities that Davis had sex with her four times before telling her he was infected with HIV, according to the initial report filed with Clayton police. The incidents were alleged to have taken place at a home in Clayton between May and June of 2012.
Davis also faces similar charges in Fulton County involving a different woman.
Forty-two potential jurors were being interviewed Monday about their views on sex and their familarity with HIV.
Clark Baker, founder and director of the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, contacted Davis’ attorney, John Turner, offering his organization’s help for free.
“We expect this case will corroborate what we’ve found in all of our other cases … and that is the testing, diagnosis and treatment of HIV in this country is wildly inaccurate and inflated and incompetent,” Baker said.
The prosecution says in an indictment that “after obtaining knowledge of being infected with HIV,” Davis “did knowingly engage in sexual intercourse” with the woman without disclosing that he was HIV-positive.
However, Turner said, “The whole thing is going to boil down to whether the state can prove he’s HIV-positive. We don’t believe the state will be able to conclusively show that my client is HIV-positive.”
Baker, a retired Los Angeles police officer, said his group concluded that “there’s no evidence or symptoms at all of HIV infection in Mr. Davis.”
Baker said his group has been involved in more than 100 HIV-related criminal cases since its inception in 2009. Many of the cases are still open, but of the 60 that have been concluded, he said, the group has been on the winning side in 57.
By: Tammy Joyner