Some crimes are so despicable, you can’t even imagine how people can commit them. An Arkansas man admitted in court that he purposefully contracted HIV so he could pass it along to other people. According to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Stephen Koch was also charged with “possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, delivery of meth and eight counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.”
While he was first arrested on drug-related charges, a confidential informant revealed to authorities that Koch was looking at child pornography. They discovered that he had intentionally infected himself with HIV after searching Koch’s text messages, his computer, and other devices, according to chief deputy prosecutor Stuart Cearley.
Cearley told Circuit Judge Robin Green that Koch was making plans to go on a double date and lie to others about his HIV status.
Judge Green asked in court: “Just so I can get my brain around this, did I understand the state correctly; Mr. Koch intentionally contracted the HIV virus so he could then infect others?”
Koch confirmed that this was true, saying he was on a self-destructive path.
When Green told Koch that his actions would hurt people, then asking if that was his intention, he said, “yes.”
Koch was sentenced to 50 years in prison and must abide by a suspended sentence agreement for 10 years after he is released from the Arkansas Department of Correction. He must also register as a sex offender and has to complete the prison’s sex offender treatment program. He was also ordered not to have any unsupervised contact with children.
Among those who commented on the story on the Daily Mail were many who just simply couldn’t understand why someone would do this, with comments such as: “Why do this?, That’s a special kind of sick and twisted,” “Wow. That is one mentally deranged person,” and “Really sad to see people that have no direction in life and find no meaning in their lives… now the government has to take care of him for 50 years. A wasted life!”
Others pointed to what happened in California, with one person explaining: “He should have committed the crime in California; last year the California state senate changed the penalty for INTENTIONALLY infecting others with the HIV virus from a mandatory state prison felony, to a misdemeanor, that can result in being given a ticket and no jail time and Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law. Yes, really.”
Still others think he should face a harsher penalty for his assortment of crimes, with one person writing: “And now his HIV medication will be provided to him for free. Meanwhile thousands of Americans face bankruptcy due to medical bills. A real punishment would be making him face the consequences of his actions by not allowing him access to medication unless he or his family pay for it.”
Another commenter remarked: “Someone like this represents a continuing threat to society for as long as they are alive. How twisted and evil do you have to be to intentionally infect yourself with a deadly virus just so you can then spread it to others?”