A Clayton County judge sentenced a Stone Mountain man to 10 years in prison for knowingly exposing a woman to HIV.
The sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge Geronda Carter was half of the maximum time Craig Lamar Davis could have faced on the two counts of reckless HIV. A Clayton jury found Davis guilty of the two counts on Jan. 21.
“I’m pleased with the sentence,” said Ronita McAfee, the woman who had brought the case against Davis. McAfee agreed to let her name be used for the story.
“More lives will be saved. No other women or men will be affected by his reckless conduct. “
The case drew worldwide attention after details surfaced on social media about a year ago. He was accused of knowingly exposing McAfee to the virus without telling her. It is the first case of its kind in Clayton County.
Friday, Carter heard from McAfee who told the court the case has deeply affected her and her family. She said she became “depressed and immobile” after learning Davis had the HIV virus. She became so distraught that her oldest daughter in effect became a surrogate mother to her two younger siblings. Her youngest child continues to have psychological problems because, McAfee said, she was too distraught to properly care for her. McAfee also noted she was unable to graduate from college in 2012 because of her inability to focus on anything else but the case. Although she has not tested positive for HIV, she said she is still treated as though she has it. For example, she said she cannot reach over and sample food off of the plates of family members and friends.
All of this could have been avoided, McAfee said, had Davis alerted her to his HIV status.
“He could have sent a text, left his (HIV) medicine out for me to see it, left me a sticky note,” she said in court Friday. “If Mr. Davis had done so in the beginning, I would not have had sex with him at all.”
The judge received a packet of 25 letters supporting Davis. Davis’ 15-year-old son took the stand Friday and told the judge how his favorite pastime was spending time with his father.
“I can talk to him about anything,” the young man told the judge. “Every dream I wanted to have or goal I wanted to reach, he was there. My dad teaches me how to be a man and my faith in God. Not only that, he’s the person I get my good looks from.”
Davis apologized Friday to McAfee and her family and blamed his conduct on “bad decision-making.” Carter sentenced Davis to 10 years on the first count. She added another 10 years on the second count but suspended that sentence unless Davis violates the law.
“We’re pleased,” said Kathryn Powers, deputy chief assistant district attorney. “Hopefully this brings some closure.”
John Turner, Davis’ attorney, said Friday that Carter’s sentence was “excessive” when compared to other recent similar cases. A defendant in a Gainesville case tried in October is serving two years in prison for a similar offense. Just this past weekend, Turner noted that an Iowa judge handed down probation to a man convicted of knowingly exposing a woman to HIV without her knowledge.
But overall Turner said he was happy with Judge Carter’s decision.
“She split the baby in half,” Turner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Turner said his client isn’t likely to serve the full 10 years behind bars.
Davis still faces a similar court case in Fulton County where it could be heard as soon as next month.