HIV Positive Mathew O'Kelly Used Spit As a Deadly Weapon?
Denver Resident Mathew O'Kelly Has Been Preliminarily Charged With Second-Degree Assault With a Deadly Weapon After Spitting on Another Man
Mathew O'Kelly was at home when Jason Arb, a technician with Rocky Mountain Offender Monitoring System arrived to install an alcohol monitoring system because O'Kelly had been caught drinking and driving.
According to the Colorado Independent when Arb was installing he device, O'Kelly became upset over the cost and told him to leave. When Arb said that he would have to tell O'Kelly's probation officer an argument started and that is when O'Kelly reportedly spit in Arb's face. When he realized after speaking with O'Kelly's probation officer that O'Kelly was HIV positive, Arb filed a formal complaint against him.
Geoff Guth, who is Mathew O'Kelly's partner, was at home at the time of the incident and blamed Arb for the escalation of the argument. He told the CI:
“Mr. Arb immediately began making threats about complaining to Mr. O’Kelly’s probation officer. He stormed out of the house, slamming the door. Mr. O’Kelly followed to ensure Arb left the premises and to prevent any damage to our property. There was a verbal altercation, with Mr. Arb threatening violence. Mr. Arb left, and Mr. O’Kelly returned to the house,” Guth said.
He does not say anything about the spitting.
In this charge, the assault refers to infected saliva, which is described as a deadly weapon.
O’Kelly “unlawfully and feloniously attempted to cause bodily injury to Jason Arb, by means of a deadly weapon, namely, infected saliva,” the report reads.
Can someone become infected with HIV through saliva?
Mindy Barton says any chance of transmission is 'low to zero'. She is the legal director for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Center's Legal Initiatives Project and says these rules are from a time when less information was available about how HIV is transmitted.
My understanding is that saliva has not had any evidence of causing HIV transmission… There have been cases where [HIV was seen as a] deadly weapon but I think that is reinforcing some old stereotypes.”
Mathew O'Kelly is being held on a $250,000 bond and says he is not going to plead guilty in the case.
The key in this case will be to determine if there was any intention behind the spitting. No official charges have been filed in this case at this time.