COUNTYWIDE : AIDS Assault Trial Ordered by Court

The California 2nd District Court of Appeal has ordered trial to proceed on Thursday for a Santa Barbara man who faces assault charges for allegedly infecting a Ventura County woman and her baby with the AIDS virus.

After the state Supreme Court refused to hear the case three weeks ago, the appeals court finalized its decision last week, denying a post-indictment preliminary hearing for the defendant, David Scott Crother, 45.

Crother was indicted in January, 1991, on 15 counts of assault with a deadly weapon--one for each sexual liaison he allegedly had with the unidentified woman between September, 1988 and August, 1989, without telling her he carried the AIDS virus.

Crother is the first person in California to be charged with assault for allegedly spreading the AIDS virus through sex.

Shortly after the indictment, Crother's attorney asked for and received Superior Court Judge Lawrence Storch's order allowing a preliminary hearing so the defense could hear the evidence against Crother.

But when prosecutors appealed the ruling, the appeals court overturned Storch's order in March, 1991, and Crother's appeal of that ruling to the Supreme Court failed.

On Thursday, Crother's case is scheduled to resume in Ventura County Superior Court with his attorney's argument that the assault charges do not fit Crother's acts.

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