A 37-year-old Maryland man was sentenced to around 30 years for assault and for knowingly transferring HIV to three women. The Frederick Police Department began that investigation into Rudolph Jericho Smith during the summer of 2017 when a few women claimed that he had infected them with the HIV virus. Officials stated that a lot of time was spent trying to determine whether or not Smith actually was HIV positive and whether he was even aware of that fact. Eventually, detectives established that he was aware that he carried the HIV virus and nonetheless continued to have unprotected sex with women without informing them of his condition.
According to WTVR, Smith was sentenced to 30 years behind bars, suspending all but nine years and, soon upon his release, he is ordered to serve five years of probation. He entered an Alford plea deal to three counts of second degree assault and three counts of knowingly attempted to transfer HIV on September 13 of this year. An Alford plea deal is a form of guilty plea where the defendant has not admitted to guilt, but acknowledges that the State has sufficient evidence to convict them.
Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Julia A. Martz-Fisher suspended all but three years of the 10-year sentence on each count. Upon his release, he will serve five years of probation during which time he has to submit the names of any sexual partners to his probation officer, among other terms. One of the victims spoke in court this Friday, telling Judge Martz-Fisher about the after effect that her HIV-positive diagnosis has had on her. She said that Smith “just didn’t care about me or others.” She also revealed that as a nurse that worked at Frederick Health Hospital, she had to get the results from her coworker who now look at her differently. Now her days consist of doctor visits and medications.
According to localDVM, before the beginning of the sentencing, the defense attorney for Smith asked the judge to take his three children into consideration and how their lives have also been impacted by the case. Nonetheless, Judge Martz-Fisher called his action’s “inexcusable,” and on being aware of his status she also said, “I don’t believe the statement that you didn’t know.”
One of his victims said she was glad to have spoken up and hopefully saved other women out there from a similar situation.
State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said in a statement “While HIV is not what it was 15 years ago with effective treatments that now exist, these victims will be impacted by this defendant’s actions for the rest of their lives,” According to Frederick-News Post, Smith created dating profiles on Backpage and Bumble, through which he met most of the alleged victims identified in the case. He also met women offline. The police then received a phone call from a woman who told them she tested positive for HIV after having sex with Rudolph Smith, saying she believed he transferred the virus to her. He will spend 30 years behind bars and 5 year probation upon his release.