By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Closing arguments set today in HIV trial
Woman charged with hiding condition from her husband
Placeholder Image

Testimony concluded Friday in Hall County Superior Court in the trial of a Gainesville woman charged with reckless conduct by an HIV-infected person.

Attorneys will present closing arguments today.

Heather Nix, 36, is accused of withholding knowledge about her HIV status for eight years to her then-husband and longtime partner, in violation of Georgia criminal statutes.

The alleged victim, Kevin Franklin, testified that on July 9, 2009, he first learned of Nix’s health. She was in the hospital for an unrelated medical issue at the time.

“I knew that she was there for the gall bladder, but when she asked me to leave, I knew something was different,” he said, saying Nix asked to be alone with her doctor.

Nix first learned she had HIV in 1998 after being hospitalized when an epileptic seizure caused a car wreck, she said.

Franklin did not contract the disease.

Three separate timelines have emerged in the trial for the disputed HIV disclosure: prior to the couple having protected sex; prior to them having unprotected sex; and in 2009, after a few years of marriage, leading to divorce.

The state has asserted that Franklin’s decision to pursue criminal charges and divorce Nix was a direct result of the revelation of the condition.

Nix took the stand in her defense, testifying she told Franklin she had HIV years prior to starting a sexual relationship with him.

She said she believed the divorce was related to revelations about her health, but not Franklin’s revelations.

“I think it was ... because it had gotten out to outside the household, and he was ashamed for anybody to know that his wife had HIV,” she said.

Nix said she had asked friends and family in 2009 to leave the hospital to maintain her independence and self-reliance.

“I don’t want to rely on others. I’m the one who has the disease — I have to take care of myself,” she said.

Friends and family played a significant part of the case, with emotional testimony from both sides.

Nix’s mother Lynn Watson made an appeal outside of court hearings.

“Please pray for my family,” she said. “... I ask people to pray for my family. We never thought we would be struck with this disease, either.”

Assistant District Attorney Juliet Aldridge asked several defense witnesses on cross examination if they heard the couple talk openly about her health status. None of them said they had.

The dialogue of the trial struck a “he said, she said” tone as testimony began to contradict that of other witnesses.

The jury is ultimately tasked with considering reliability of witnesses as part of the evidence in making a ruling.

Regional events