Man injected son with Aids blood

A FATHER accused of injecting HIV-tainted blood into his son to avoid paying child support has been found guilty of first-degree assault and faces possible life imprisonment. The conviction, however, could be elevated to murder if the boy, now aged seven, dies from the virus.

After just three days of testimony in the trial of Brian Stewart, 32, in St Charles, Missouri, the jury delivered its verdict late on Saturday. Sentencing was set for 8 January.

Stewart, who listened impassively to the verdict, is expected to appeal.

Prosecutors told the court that Stewart, who worked in a hospital as a phlebotomist - someone who draws blood - stole the HIV-infected blood from his workplace and then injected it into his son while the boy was in hospital for treatment for asthma.

The jury heard how Stewart committed the crime during 1992, when the boy was 11 months old, because he did not want to pay for child support. Stewart was already separated from the boy's mother, identified only as "Jennifer" to protect the identity of the child.

Jennifer said her son now suffers from full-blown Aids, which was diagnosed four years after the crime. He is kept alive by a combination of potent drugs, has lost most of his hearing, is fed through a tube in his stomach, and has come close to death several times. On the stand last week, she said Stewart had told her that the boy would die. "He said, `You won't need to look me up for child support anyway because your child is not going to live very long'," she testified.

A county sheriff's detective testified during that Stewart, who worked in the St Louis area, had a history of drawing more blood from patients than was necessary, had sometimes "lost" samples and had extensive contact with Aids patients in his work.

Joe Murphy, lawyer for the defence, said the prosecution had built a case out of circumstantial evidence and had failed to offer any proof. "A tragedy is not a crime and theories are not facts," he told reporters. "Mom made an allegation and everyone ran with it."

Mr Murphy had tried to show that the boy could have contracted the virus from other sources, including intravenous drug abusers and convicted child molesters who shared the mother's home from time to time.

But prosecutors said all 23 adults with whom the boy had come into contact tested HIV negative, and there was no evidence that the boy had been sexually abused.

The boy's mother sobbed as the sentence was read out. "My son has been robbed of a normal childhood and given an unjust sentence of his own," she told reporters after the verdict.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent