An HIV diagnosis is no longer the death sentence it once was. With early detection and proper treatment, those infected with the virus can fight off AIDS for decades -- unless, that is, the patient happens to be in a relationship with 37-year-old Larry Dunn of Irving.
Prosecutors say that Dunn murdered Cicely Bolden, his 28-year-old mistress, after she revealed she was HIV positive. In a videotaped interview, Dunn told Dallas police that Bolden made the revelation after they'd had unprotected sex one day last September at her southeast Oak Cliff apartment. Dunn, fearing that his wife might also be infected, then got out of bed, retrieved a knife from the kitchen, and stabbed Bolden twice in the neck.
"She killed me, so I killed her," he explained, according to court documents.
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Evidence presented at trial, which is being covered by The Dallas Morning News' Jennifer Emily, indicates that the murder may have been less spontaneous than Dunn initially suggested. Bolden had actually told him of her diagnosis a week earlier, Emily reports, but Dunn, convinced he was a dead man, decided it wouldn't matter if he had sex with her again.
Whatever the exact date that Dunn learned of Bolden's HIV infection, it doesn't undercut the central irony of the case, which is that Dunn doesn't have HIV. Defense attorney George Ashford tells the Morning News that his client is still undergoing tests.
But it's been almost 14 months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people develop a detectable amount of HIV antibodies between two to eight weeks of exposure. "Ninety-seven percent will develop antibodies in the first three months following the time of their infection," the agency writes in its HIV testing FAQs. "In very rare cases, it can take up to six months to develop antibodies to HIV."
In other words, Dunn is in the clear, at least according to the nation's foremost authority on public health, and at least where it concerns his HIV status. His prospects for freedom are much less rosy. If a jury decides the murder was premeditated, he faces life in prison. If it was an act of passion, he'll get two to 20 years.