A former collegiate wrestler at Lindenwood University known as ‘Tiger Mandingo’ has been found guilty of infecting one gay sex partner with HIV, while also exposing multiple other gay partners to the virus as well.
Michael L. Johnson after being arrested and expelled from the university in 2013, now faces life in prison, after a St.Charles County, Mo. jury found him guilty of five out of six counts. He was found not guilty on a sixth charge of exposing another man to the virus that causes AIDS
Assistant Prosecutor Phil Groenweghe painted the clear picture during closing that Johnson knowingly and maliciously continued to have dangerous unprotected sex with multiple gay partners after being diagnosed as HIV positive in December of 2011.
“What we have here is a perfect storm of malice,” Groenweghe told jurors.
During the trial, Johnson while testifying on his own behalf said he was scared and confused and didn’t have any knowledge of HIV.
“I was scared and confused,” Johnson testified. “I didn’t have any knowledge of HIV. I knew it was an STD, that’s all.”
However, the prosecution shredded that notion by presenting evidence that confirmed his positive HIV test from two years earlier in Indiana.
Additionally, Johnson was also diagnosed with gonorrhea.
“It was new to me, and I didn’t know how to tell people,” Johnson said in a taped interview that was played during the trial.
Despite his knowledge of his medical state, Johnson lied to two of his sex partners that he was disease-free when asked, according to Groenweghe.
During the investigation police officials confiscated his personal laptop and found 32 video recorded occurrences of him having unprotected sex.
A state disease prevention specialist also testified that they were told by Johnson during followup visits that he wasn’t sexually active during the first 10 months after being diagnosed with HIV.
Jurors deliberated for two hours and 20 minutes before returning the verdict.
Johnson was a state wrestling champion from Indianapolis before capturing the 2012 National Junior College championship at Lincoln College in Illinois at which point he transferred to NCAA Division II Lindenwood.