Ronald Murdock, who has been diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been charged with murder in Toledo, Ohio, after his girlfriend died of complications from the deadly disease, according to WTVG-TV. He has also been charged with felonious assault, and his bail set at $1.5 million, the report says.
Murdock, 51, was indicted last week for the February death of Kimberly Klempner, 51. Murdock and his longtime girlfriend Klempner allegedly had unprotected sex, though Murdock knew he was HIV-positive, notes the report. The indictment claims that Murdock didn’t disclose his status to Klempner, which is against Ohio law.
Klempner’s son, Josh, tells the news outlet his mom and Murdock were in a relationship for about five years. According to the son, his mom discovered her HIV-positive status in 2015, informed Murdock, who was unfazed by the news, writes the news outlet.
“My mother [later learned he had the virus because of] some pills he had [in his possession],” Josh tells the television news station. “She stayed the night at his house one night and she felt something was up [because of his reaction]. She did some snooping and ran across a few pill bottles. She did a little research on them and found out [what they were for] that way.”
Doctors advise people diagnosed with HIV and their partners to use condoms even when on medication to avoid transmission. A police report states that Murdock’s wife discovered he and Klempner were having an affair, and told informed her about her husband’s HIV-positive status, notes the report. But she had already been diagnosed with the disease.
Despite major progress in medication, HIV rates are alarmingly high for Black Americans compared to other races. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, 45 percent of HIV diagnoses were Black, though African Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population. It is not uncommon for states to criminalize HIV and AIDS instead of treating it as a public health issue. Higher poverty rates in Black communities and the issues that come with it — such as limited access to high-quality health care, mental health resources, housing and HIV prevention education — can directly and indirectly contribute to the high HIV infection rates.