MAYVILLE - A civil confinement trial to determine whether Nushawn Williams will remain in prison began Monday in Mayville.
Williams, the Jamestown man who now goes by the name Shyteek Johnson, pleaded guilty in 1999 to statutory rape and reckless endangerment after police said he knowingly infected more than a dozen women with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS. Williams completed his 12-year sentence in 2010, but has remained in prison under the state's civil confinement law for sex offenders.
Williams' attorney shocked many last month when he announced Williams never had the virus. According to John Nuchereno, a sample of Williams' blood was examined at the Core Electron Microscopy Facility at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Gregory Hendricks, a cell biologist at the university, concluded Williams did not have the virus, said Nuchereno, who is now fighting to get Williams released from state custody.
"Nushawn just accepted the truth that he had the virus," Nuchereno said last month to the newspaper. "Everyone just took for granted that the tests done were accurate.
"The test they used, it's presumed you're positive (with HIV). It said do not reach a diagnosis based on the test. Bottom line: The test had a lot of false positives."
The civil trial, which is expected to last a week, is closed to the public. A jury and alternates were selected last week.
Assistant Attorney General Joseph Muia Jr., however, has questioned the process used to determine Williams' latest test result. The electron microscope, used by the medical school, is not an accepted method to determine HIV status, he argued.
Muia and Assistant Attorney General Wendy Whiting are representing the state. A spokeswoman with the Attorney General's Office said information regarding the civil trial could not be released.
Nuchereno could not be reached Monday for comment.