A Collin County jury sentenced an HIV-positive Frisco man to 45 years in prison after deciding that he purposely infected six women with the virus.
The Texas jury convicted Philippe Padieu, 53, on six counts of aggravated sexual assault with a deadly weapon on Thursday. Padieu received five 45-year sentences, of which he has to serve a minimum of 22.5 years, and he received a 25-year sentence for the remaining count. The sentences will be served concurrently.
In the last week, jurors have heard emotional, and sometimes tearful, testimony from Padieu's former lovers who said he infected them with HIV.
The case could create a legal precedent, criminalizing those who knowingly transmit a sexually transmitted disease.
Defense attorneys argued that Padieu was no different from other men who love to chase women and asked the jury to be fair considering he has already spent two years in solitary confinement.
"He is a modern day Casanova, there is no question about that, maybe not quite as polished but pretty close," said defense attorney Bennie House. "I'm asking you not to give this man a life sentence, I'm asking you to give him somewhere around 20 years."
But prosecutors pushed for a life sentence, saying Padieu has shown that he can't be trusted to take responsibility after infecting six women. Padieu learned of his HIV positive status in September of 2005 and was asked to practice safe sex, his doctor testified earlier in the trial.
"'(Padieu says) it's everybody else's fault, I'm the victim here, I'm the victim,' -- that makes him a dangerous person, a person you cannot trust in this community," Assistant District Attorney Lisa King said. "He gave them a death sentence, at a minimum he deserves a life sentence."
Assistant District Attorney Curtis Howard called Padieu more of a predator than a Casanova.
"Maybe it's about the hunt, maybe it's about the chase, maybe it's about the kill, and in this case it has a much more sinister connotation because of his HIV status," Howard said.
Padieu was arrested and charged with six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in July of 2007. An investigation began in February 2007 after two women who tested positive for the virus contacted police. That's when Frisco police discovered four other women from Padieu's past.
Three additional women testified Thursday during the trial's sentencing phase, saying their lives have changed dramatically since Padieu infected them with HIV through unprotected sex.
One woman told jurors she had sex with Padieu twice in 2005 and now has full-blown AIDS. She said she was prompted to come forward after hearing news coverage of Padieu's arrest.
Another woman, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2008, testified that she became ill after giving Padieu oral sex in September 2005.
"I would rather have cancer than AIDS, because with cancer, at least you can tell people you have it," she said.
In a video deposition, a third woman said she got pregnant after having sex with Padieu in April 2006, and learned she was HIV positive after having a miscarriage a month later.
Prosecutors also recalled the original six victims to testify in the punishment phase. One of the six women has full-blown AIDS, while the others have HIV.
AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition caused by HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus. HIV interferes with the body's ability to fight off viruses, bacteria and fungi by damaging the immune system.
An estimated 39.5 million people have HIV worldwide, according to the Mayo Clinic.
NBCDFW originally reported a longer sentence for Padieu. We regret the error.