BENTONVILLE, AR — A 25-year-old Arkansas man admitted in court that he intentionally contracted HIV so that he could then infect others with the deadly virus. A judge then sentenced him to 50 years in jail.
Stephen Koch, 25, pleaded guilty on Monday to a litany of charges, including attempting to expose another person to HIV, possession of meth, and eight counts of distributing or viewing child pornography.
According to court documents, Benton County officials were searching Koch’s phone and computer for child pornography when officers happened upon text messages indicating had infected himself with HIV (how he did so still remains undisclosed).
Prosecutors further stated that some of the messages detailed Koch planning a double date during which he intended to pass the virus on to other people.
In court, presiding Circuit Judge Robin Green heard the prosecution’s allegations, then reportedly appeared stunned and asked:
“Just so I can get my brain around this, did I understand the state correctly? Mr. Koch intentionally contracted the HIV virus so he could then infect others? Was that the reason?”
When the judge asked Koch if his intention was to hurt people by infecting them with HIV, he simply answered, “Yes.”
Green sentenced Koch to 50 years in the Arkansas State Penitentiary. He will have to register as a sex offender, complete a sex-offender program while incarcerated, and have a suspended sentence in place for 10 years after he gets out.
In addition, Green ordered Koch to never again have unsupervised contact with minors.
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Main photo: Stephen Koch [Benton County Jail]