The relationship with Craig Lamar Davis started in April 2012 on Facebook as “flirty and fun” but within a month disintegrated into a life-changing nightmare, a 39-year-old mother of three told a Clayton County jury Wednesday.
Davis is on trial in Clayton County accused of knowingly exposing the woman to HIV. He faces two counts of reckless HIV, a felony that could put him in prison for up to 20 years if he’s convicted on both counts.
In more than two hours of testimony, the woman, who is not being identified by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which does not name victims of alleged sexual crimes, described her relationship with Davis.
She said Davis tearfully told her on May 22, 2012 that an ex-girlfriend informed him that she had tested positive for HIV.
“My world started spinning. I had so many emotions going on. I was frantic. I was all over the place,” the woman said. “He told me to calm down. People live with HIV every day. It’s not a death sentence.” After this revelation, the woman testified Wednesday she repeatedly asked Davis to get tested.
“I bugged him about (getting tested) to the point that he cussed me out,” she said, and eventually he blocked her phone calls.
The woman said Wednesday she has been regularly tested since Davis’ revelation and does not have the virus. Davis was diagnosed with HIV in 2005, according to medical experts who have testified in the trial that started Monday.
The woman, a grandmother, conceded she knew there were risks associated with having unprotected sex but said she trusted Davis.
Throughout its line of questions, the defense attempted to paint the woman as a person bent on revenge for being put in harms way, a woman who waged a campaign online and in emails with the intent of ruining Davis. The defense accused her of taking to the Internet as well as distributing emails to disparage Davis, saying he was a minister (which he denies) and even distributing a wedding photo of Davis and his wife.
At one point, the woman admitted in testimony Wednesday to sending an Aug. 22, 2012 email to 40 people in various churches Davis attended warning them of his condition. The defense noted that the woman also was instrumental in getting Davis arrested on similar charges in Fulton County. That case involves a different woman. The defense sought to poke holes in several of the woman’s assertions.
“You wanted to destroy his reputation,” defense attorney John Turner said.
“I don’t know about destroying his reputation,” the woman replied. “But I wanted people to be forewarned of his HIV status.”
“You wanted to get him out on the Internet,” Turner said.
“He was careless and he put me and other people at risk,” she replied.
Wednesday’s testimony is the first jurors heard details of the relationship between Davis and the woman. Until then, the trial had centered on the state’s painstaking efforts to show that Davis clearly knew he had HIV when he had sex with the woman.
Davis’ defense hinges on the fact that some aspects of the medical community say there are no definitive tests for detecting the HIV virus. Thus, it’s unclear whether Davis has HIV.
Testimony continues Thursday in Superior Court Judge Geronda V. Carter’s courtroom.