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Trial to begin for man charged with keeping HIV status secret from sex partners

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CINCINNATI - Testimony begins Monday in the trial of a Hyde Park man charged with felonious assault for allegedly failing to tell sex partners that he was HIV positive.

Andre Davis, 29, faces 15 counts of felonious assault. Prosecutors said he failed to warn 12 women about his HIV status before having sex with them between 2009 and 2011.

Davis faces up to 120 years in prison if convicted on all charges. He rejected a plea deal by prosecutors which would have put him in prison for 15-20 years.

Davis was a former professional wrestler, known as "Andre Heart." He received a contract offer from the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), but the organization withdrew its offer after Davis tested positive for HIV during a physical.

Friends and family members of Davis have been in the courtroom since jury selection began on Nov. 9.  One of his former high school classmates, who didn't want her identity released, said, "I can't believe he would be the type of person to do something like this. It's just unreal."

Before jury selection began, an assistant prosecutor asked Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Jerome Metz to prohibit the names of the victims who are going to testify against Davis from being made public. One prosecutor asked if the victims could be referred to by their initials. The judge denied that motion.

Another issue that came up before jury selection was whether the HIV status of the witnesses will be brought up during the trial. Judge Metz ruled that the defense will not be allowed to ask any witnesses about their HIV status without asking him in advance.

Copyright Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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