Jay L. Woods, an HIV-positive Aberdeen, S.D., resident, last week entered an Alford plea in response to being charged with four counts of deliberately exposing male sex partners to HIV and received a sentence of 18 months probation, the Aberdeen American News reports. An Alford plea means that Woods maintained his innocence but conceded that there was enough evidence for a judge or jury to convict him. Woods, 42, entered the plea to one of the charges on the condition that the other three be dropped.
Woods had faced up to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine for each of the felony counts of HIV exposure. After he received his sentence, Woods handed over a written statement to the American News regarding why he accepted the Alford plea. "I see this as a waste of taxpayer money and time," he stated. "I feel confident that had I chosen a jury trial, I would have been found not guilty, but I don't feel my family and I could have taken any more, either mentally, physically, or financially, than we have already endured through this past year."
Woods's roommate, William Jenigen, 36, also was charged with exposing sex partners to HIV, and in February entered an Alford plea in his case. He received a sentence of 45 days in jail and five years probation. About 30 Aberdeen-area residents were tested for HIV antibodies after Jenigen and Woods were arrested, but none of the tests indicated that Jenigen or Woods had infected their sex partners.