Former student convicted on five HIV-related charges

Former Lindenwood student Michael Johnson

Viktoria Muench | Staff Reporter
Published May 17, 2015; 11 a.m.

Former Lindenwood student Michael Johnson
Former Lindenwood student Michael Johnson

The trial of former Lindenwood wrestler Michael Johnson has come to a decision. Johnson was arrested in October 2013, after he had exposed several male sex partners to HIV. Although he had full knowledge of his disease at the time, he denied it to his partners when they asked him and claimed that he didn’t have the virus.

Eric Stuhler, Lindenwood’s in-house legal counsel was present at the trial on Thursday, May 14. According to him, Johnson was found guilty on five of six counts.

He was charged on four counts for attempting to expose his sex partners to HIV, which is a class B felony with a possible prison sentence of five to 15 years.

Additionally, Johnson is found guilty for exposing his sex partners to HIV, a class A felony. The punishment for this kind of felony is a prison sentence between ten and thirty years, or a life sentence. Stuhler said that a defendant must normally serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

Johnson was not convicted for a sixth count as this incident occurred before he was tested for HIV at Lindenwood in 2013, according to Stuhler.

This trial has now terminated its second and final stage, as it is a bifurcated criminal trial. This means it first had a guilt-innocence phase, following the now completed punishment-sentencing phase. A jury will make a decision about his punishment and the sentencing hearing was scheduled for today.

The 23-year-old is facing a maximum punishment of life in prison.

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