San Diego

A San Diego man with AIDS who bit two nurses pleaded not guilty Friday to attempted murder and assault.

Steven Paul Prior entered his pleas in Superior Court, and a trial date of Oct. 3 was set, although both prosecution and defense plan tao file motions that could delay the trial.

In the first case of its kind in San Diego County, 32-year-old Prior was charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault after biting two nurses July 17 at Villa View Community Hospital in San Diego.

The district attorney's unprecedented decision to charge Prior created a controversy when critics said little medical evidence exists that AIDS can be transmitted by biting.

Prior bit the two nurses, Donald Weber and Michael Mangoian, in separate incidents. In both cases, Prior bit through the nurses' rubber gloves, drawing blood. Mangoian testified during the preliminary hearing that he believed Prior had been bleeding from the mouth when Prior bit him.

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