Man Accused of Trying to Infect Women With HIV

A verdict will be announced Monday in the trial of a man charged with intentionally exposing 17 women to HIV, a county judge said.

"Sex machine," "Russian roulette" and "sex addiction" were among the phrases lawyers used Thursday in 2½ hours of closing arguments in the case of Anthony E. Whitfield (search), 32, of Lacey.

Whitfield, formerly of Oklahoma City, is charged with 17 counts of first-degree assault with sexual motivation, witness tampering and violating a court protection order. He could be sentenced to 137 to 182 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Five of the women cited in the case have been infected with the virus that causes AIDS (search).

Thurston County Superior Judge William Thomas McPhee, who heard the case without a jury, said he expected to give a Monday verdict.

The case has spawned at least two episodes of racist leafletting in the state capital city, each involving 100 or more homes — once shortly after Whitfield pleaded innocent to four counts of assault in April and again as the trial was starting late last month.

The fliers, some of which proclaimed, "Don't Have Sex With Blacks; Avoid AIDS!" were wrapped in plastic bags weighted down with cat box filler or sand and hurled into onto homeowners' yards overnight. No arrests have been reported. Whitfield is black.

During the trial an Oklahoma prison official testified that Whitfield was diagnosed with HIV while incarcerated in 1992 and two women testified that Whitfield once said, seemingly in jest, that if he had HIV, he would give it to as many people as he could.

"Most rational people would not take that seriously, but this court should take that seriously because they were spoken by this defendant," deputy prosecutor David H. Bruneau said.

Defense lawyer Charles Lane said Whitfield was a methamphetamine (search)-addicted "sex machine" who bounced between women for shelter, money and sex but never meant to inflict "great bodily harm" as required for him to be convicted of first-degree assault.