News » Crime

HIV-Positive Man Allegedly Infected 3,000 Victims on Purpose

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday January 10, 2012

David Dean Smith from Comstock Park, Mich., a suburb of Grand Rapids, allegedly infected 3,000 men and woman with HIV -- on purpose, MSNBC reported.

Smith, 51, recently turned himself into Michigan police and claimed that he slept with thousands of people over a number of years with the intent of killing them by infecting them with the virus. Health officials from the Kent County Health Department have issued a warning that "hundreds of people have been exposed to HIV," and recommend people to get tested for the virus.

Despite his claims that he has infected thousands, Smith has only been arraigned and charged with two counts of "AIDS-sexual penetration with an uninformed partner." Smith is currently in Kent County Jail with a $100,000 bond.

One of the two possible victims told a local Grand Rapids news station, WOOD-TV, that she has been HIV positive since Oct. 2008.

She met Smith through a personals ad on Yahoo! and says she instantly knew it was Smith who infected her. She also said that he sent her a text message informing her that he was turning himself over to police, that "his life is over" and that he will always love her.

"It's something he should have done years ago," she said. "He shouldn't get a pat on the head for what he did."

She also believes that Smith has infected several others as he told her that he had sex with 3,000 men and women.

"He hits drifters," she said. "He hits people who are young. He hits young women, and from what I understand, he hits men, too. Those are his targets."

At his arraignment, Smith said he was receiving mental help and was hospitalized for trying to commit suicide. The hospital's records indicate that Smith is "sexually aroused by causing pain to females."

Richard E. Zambon, Smith's attorney, told MSNBC that he worried about Smith's mental health but will "explore all options" when defending him in court.

In a similar case, Nushwan Williams admitted in 1997 to having unprotected sex with up to 47 women in Chautauqua County, which lies along the New York-Pennsylvania boarder, and 28 women in New York City. Williams slept with them even though he knew about his HIV positive status.

In a more notorious case, Gaetan Dugas, who was Canadian air flight attendant and the alleged patient zero for AIDS, spread the disease to several victims before it was fully understood.

Dugas claimed to have slept with more than 2,500 people across North America since 1972.

There are many laws that specifically target HIV-positive individuals and several advocacy groups, along with Rep. Barbra Lee (D) from California, that want to repeal these laws and say they are unjust, the Associated Press reported in a Jan. 3 article.

The article points out that there is currently a man serving an HIV-positive, 35-year prison sentence for spitting at a police officer and a man infected with the virus who allegedly bit a neighbor during a fight and faced a bioterrorism charge.

EDGE reported in an April 2010, of several incidents where HIV was treated as a deadly weapon. Darren Chiacchia, who won a bronze metal for the U.S. equestrian team in the 2004 Olympics, was brought to court for not telling his then boyfriend he was infected with the virus. He faced a 30-year prison sentence but all charges were dropped.

In addition, a man in Texas was accused of having sex with an underage boy and was charged with aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon because he is HIV positive.