Offender in HIV scare loses freedom bid

MAYVILLE (AP) – A New York drug dealer imprisoned in the 1990s amid accusations he infected 13 young women with HIV lost his bid for freedom Friday despite having completed his sentence more than two years ago.

A jury in western New York found that Nushawn Williams, 36, suffers from a mental abnormality that makes him subject to “civil management” and will either be confined to a secure treatment facility or kept under strict supervision, according to the attorney general’s office.

“With this determination, Mr. Williams will get the treatment he needs and the citizens of New York will be safer,” said Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The Chautauqua County jury deliberated for just over an hour. A hearing will be held to determine Williams’ level of management.

Williams, who now goes by the name Shyteek Johnson, completed a 12-year sentence for statutory rape and reckless endangerment in 2010.

But state officials sought his continued imprisonment and described him as a mentally disturbed, sex-obsessed drug user likely to infect more women if set free. A psychologist’s report said Williams targeted vulnerable young women who were underage and/or drug addicted and “used charm and coercion to secure sexual contact.”

Before the trial’s start, Williams’ lawyer John Nuchereno claimed that a new test showed that Williams isn’t HIV positive. Nuchereno argued that without HIV, Williams is not a danger and should be freed.

Nuchereno earlier this year said he arranged for a new blood test as part of efforts to get Williams released. State lawyers at that time questioned whether the April blood sample had been properly handled, as well as the reliability of the test submitted by Nuchereno, which was conducted using an electron microscope.

Nuchereno did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In 1997, before he was charged, authorities in the small western New York city of Jamestown took the unusual step of announcing publicly that Williams was HIV positive in an effort to stem further spread of the virus by Williams’ partners to others. News that the dreadlocked Bronx native known as “Face” had been found to be the common denominator in numerous HIV cases, including that of a 13-year-old girl, set off a local panic.

He told a reporter in 1999 that he’d had sex with 200 to 300 partners.

The two-week trial was held out of the public eye because of health privacy laws.