Updated: November 23, 2011 7:06PM
A jury on Wednesday convicted a former professional wrestler of 14 felonious assault counts alleging he had sex with women without telling them he had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.
Hamilton County jurors deliberated over two days before returning the verdict against Andre Davis, of Cincinnati.
Prosecutors said the 29-year-old Davis, who wrestled using stage names including Gangsta of Love, Sweet Sexy Sensation and Andre Heart, violated state law by not telling a dozen sex partners about his HIV status or lying to them.
Davis’ attorney, Greg Cohen, told WLWT-TV he would appeal the verdict. He said the state law regarding HIV and felonious assault is poorly written because it doesn’t require proof that there has been “harm or an attempt to commit harm.”
All 12 of the women who accused Davis testified that they had unprotected sex with him and he either never told them or lied about HIV, which can be transmitted through unprotected sex. The judge, citing medical privacy laws, prohibited attorneys from bringing up whether any of the women was infected with the virus.
Prosecutor Amy Tranter told WLWT that the case involved a great deal of testimony and that jurors considered evidence “step by step.”
“It’s an important case,” she said. “It’s a serious case.”
Tranter had said in closing arguments that Davis should go to prison for a long time, saying the case was about his responsibility to tell the women his test results.
Cohen, the defense attorney, had suggested that Davis’ accusers were promiscuous by having unprotected sex and multiple partners. He also said that a company — not a doctor — told Davis that he was HIV-positive.
The Cincinnati Enquirer has reported that World Wrestling Entertainment told Davis in July 2009 that it wouldn’t hire him because he failed his physical and tested positive for HIV.
Davis’ attorney said earlier in the trial that he didn’t think prosecutors could prove that Davis has HIV.
Tranter said that state law requires those who test positive for HIV to inform their sex partners of that statuses and that she didn’t have to prove that Davis is HIV-positive.
Davis faces similar charges in Warren County, north of Cincinnati.