AIDS Patient Gets Probation

An AIDS patient who bit two emergency room nurses in a hospital was ordered released Thursday from County Jail on five years' probation.

Steven Paul Prior, 33, of San Diego had already served 169 days in jail for the July 17 incident at Villaview Community Hospital.

At the suggestion of Prior's attorney, William Youmans, San Diego Superior Court Judge Charles Hayes ordered Prior to complete an "anger management course."

No fine was imposed, but Hayes ordered restitution paid to one nurse, Michael Mangonian. The amount is to be determined.

Prior pleaded guilty Dec. 3 to two assault charges. Two counts of premeditated attempted murder were dropped. Prosecutors alleged that he tried to infect the two nurses with the AIDS virus, but his attorney argued that there is no documented case of AIDS transmission through a bite.

Prior was in the hospital's emergency room after taking an overdose of AZT and another medication. The nurses testified that he was highly agitated and resisted treatment by pulling a tube from his nose and splashing his blood in the process.

A probation officer recommended that Prior seek help from support groups.

"His other relatives, with the exception of his paternal aunt, have all disowned him since learning of his disease," a probation report stated.

Prior will live with his aunt, the report said.

Both nurses have tested negative for the AIDS virus.

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