DALLAS – An HIV-positive man who prosecutors say secretly videotaped sexual encounters with 131 young men was sentenced to life in prison for attempting to entice a 15-year-old boy to engage in sex acts.
During his trial, prosecutors alleged Willie Atkins knew of his condition yet endangered dozens of partners by rarely using condoms, and that there was no evidence that he warned anyone that he was HIV-positive.
Atkins was sentenced Friday for attempting to entice a minor for sex, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Because Atkins had two previous felony convictions, for aggravated robbery and firearms possession, he was eligible for the life sentence.
According to authorities, Atkins lured young men to his apartment by offering them jobs to work for his landscaping company, but authorities have had difficulty identifying the men. Jurors at his trial saw clips from 90 hours of sexually explicit videotape.
His defense attorney, Richard Franklin, said Atkins was being unfairly targeted.
"They want to say Willie Atkins gave all these people AIDS, spread HIV all over the place," Franklin said. "They can't be living in some parallel universe where they've never heard of AIDS. It can't be his fault alone, if he has any fault at all."
The "dangerous activity" each side engaged in "cancels each other out," he said.