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Man With AIDS Virus Convicted of Assault for Spitting at Deputies

From Associated Press

A man infected with the AIDS virus was convicted Monday of assault for allegedly spitting blood at sheriff’s officers and bloody saliva at a jail nurse in an effort to infect them.

In his decision to convict Steven O’Banion of lesser charges, Judge Gilbert Bettman said the officers probably were too rough with O’Banion after he was brought into jail on charges of jaywalking and disorderly conduct.

Prosecutors had accused O’Banion of trying to kill three Hamilton County deputies and the nurse by infecting them.

O’Banion denied the charges, saying officers came in contact with his blood because they beat him after arresting him Sept. 3. He said the jail officers also taunted him for being a homosexual.

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The Sheriff’s Department said an internal investigation concluded that officers did not use excessive force.

O’Banion, 40, originally was charged with four counts of attempted murder, three counts of felonious assault and one of aggravated assault.

The judge last week dismissed the attempted murder charges, ruling that prosecutors failed to prove that spitting infected blood could cause death.

Other charges were reduced or dismissed, and O’Banion was found guilty Monday of three counts of simple assault.

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