|AIDS Denialist Clark Baker with the late Karri Stokely|
It was a case that aired Wichita’s dirty laundry from Coast to Coast: an airman sentenced to eight years behind bars for hiding his HIV positive states at swinger parties.
Robert was one of the victims.
“As many people as he tried to infect, and I'm sorry, kill, in my book, I think he should get the death sentence,” he said.
But not everyone agrees. The HIV Innocence Project has joined Gutierrez in a push for a new trial. The non-profit group helps defendants accused of HIV-related crimes. It took on 20 criminal cases last year, saying in almost every case the charges were dropped. The group’s leader, Clark Baker, calls the Gutierrez case disturbing.
In the filing for a new trial, attorney say Gutierrez received a gross and incompetent defense and that his attorneys never looked at his medical records, never called any expert witnesses and refused the free help offered by the HIV Innocence Project.
“I've been working with attorneys since 1980 and I've never had an attorney resist anyone who was willing to deliver exculpatory evidence that would clear their client,” Baker said.
The lawyers also say they plan to go after Doctor Donna Sweet, the HIV expert whose testimony was used by the prosecution against Gutierrez. The defense claims – among other things – that she violated HIPPA laws by testifying against her own patient. And while pointing out she was subpoenaed to testify, Dr. Sweet actually agrees with the broad mission of the Innocence Project when it comes to criminalizing people with the virus.
“There's a big difference between if you actually infect somebody when you didn't tell them versus you put somebody at risk, and in this case Sgt. Gutierrez did not infect anyone that we know of,” she said.
But to his victims, Gutierrez is right where he belongs.
“The only thing unfair about his trial was his sentencing,” said Robert.
KSN did receive a written response from Air Force officials who have no comment on the appeal. They have 30 days to respond to the court filing. In the meantime, Gutierrez remains at Leavenworth Prison serving his sentence.