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Jury rules Nushawn Williams has condition making him likely to commit more sex crimes

MAYVILLE – A Chautauqua County jury Friday determined that Nushawn Williams has a mental abnormality that makes him likely to commit more sexual crimes in the future.

Williams lost his bid to be released from civil confinement under the state’s Mental Hygiene Law.

Williams gained national notoriety in the 1990s after authorities said he infected at least 13 young Chautauqua County women, including one 13-year-old, with the virus that leads to AIDS.

The 12-person jury deliberated 70 minutes Friday afternoon. Jurors found clear and convincing evidence Williams has a mental abnormality that makes him unable to control his sexual impulses and thus makes him potentially dangerous.

“With this determination, Mr. Williams will get the treatment he needs, and the citizens of New York will be safer,” said Melissa Grace, spokeswoman for State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Williams, wearing a sweater with a collar and khaki trousers, sat expressionless as nine men and three women on the jury were individually polled. He walked out of the courtroom carrying a tattered folder and did not say anything.

Williams, 36, has been behind bars since pleading guilty in 1999 to two counts of statutory rape and one count of reckless endangerment.

He completed a 12-year prison sentence for these crimes in 2010. But the State Attorney General’s Office, which has maintained Williams is a sexual predator likely to infect more people with the virus that causes AIDS, has used the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act of 2007 to keep Williams imprisoned.

The state law allows sex offenders to be detained indefinitely following a criminal sentence if they are deemed to have a mental problem that makes them predisposed to offend again. More than 200 sex offenders in New York have been civilly confined since the law was enacted in 2007.

Williams’ civil confinement trial, which began June 12 in a Chautauqua County courtroom, was closed to the public until the reading of the jury’s verdict.

The case had the makings of a dramatic trial when attorney John R. Nuchereno made the stunning claim, during a pretrial hearing in May, that Williams never had HIV and thus was not capable of spreading the disease.

The Office of Medical and Scientific Justice, a nonprofit group based in Studio City, Calif., which assisted with Williams’ case, had his blood examined under an electron microscope, and it showed no evidence of the disease, according to a report by Gregory Hendricks, a University of Massachusetts Medical School cell biologist.

The state was not allowed to conduct a separate blood analysis, but Assistant Attorneys General Wendy R. Whiting and Joseph Muia Jr. called the electron microscope analysis junk science.

The state also relied on a state psychiatric examiner’s diagnosis that Williams, who now goes by the name Shyteek Johnson, has antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy, as well as a preoccupation with sex.

The examiner, Jacob Hadden, concluded that Williams was prone to further sexual contact with underage girls and was likely to engage in reckless sexual contact, including unprotected sex.

Nuchereno argued Hadden based her report on rumor and innuendo. His expert witness, Charles Ewing, concluded Williams has a personality disorder, a common diagnosis for prisoners, but one that has nothing to do with sex offenses.

State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski, who presided at the trial, will determine whether the state moves Williams to a secure treatment facility or puts him under strict and intensive supervision and treatment.