Michael Everhart was "apathetic" about possibly spreading the virus that causes AIDS, but his actions didn't appear to be part of a specific plan to infect people, Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney said.
Everhart, who has lived in Idaho for most of his life, classified himself as a sexual predator who hears voices in his head, prosecutors said in court Tuesday.
He advertised for “drug- and disease-free” sexual partners on websites like Craigslist and manhunt.com, telling investigators he had as many as 21 victims.
Using computer and cell phone records, detectives identified four of the men and one woman who had unprotected sex with Everhart, Raney said.
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None of them knew the unemployed 31-year-old is HIV-positive. It is unclear if those who were notified have been tested for HIV.
Detectives are still trying to identify other victims, but that has been difficult because of the anonymous nature of Internet-based hookups.
In the past decade there have been fewer than 10 arrests in Ada County on the charge of knowingly attempting to transfer bodily fluids infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.
Two of those were for 44-year-old Kerry Thomas, who is serving a 30-year prison sentence.
Nikki Sakata, a program manager for the Central District Health Department’s Communicable Disease Control program, said she is gravely concerned for Everhart’s partners and others.
“There are individuals in our community who may be unknowingly spreading HIV as a result of contact with (Everhart),” she said. “It is extremely important that these people get tested.”
Detectives began the investigation in July, when Everhart, who had been booked into jail on a probation violation in connection with a DUI conviction, confessed that he had been having unprotected sex since he was diagnosed with HIV in October 2009.
It appears Everhart had some kind of epiphany before he confessed, Raney said.
“He stated over and over he wanted to do the right thing,” Raney said. “We are glad he did.”
Prosecutors issued an arrest warrant Monday, while Everhart was still in jail for the probation violation.
He is being held on a $500,000 bond. The charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Other charges are likely, investigators said. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for later this month.