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Trial for man accused of intentionally spreading HIV delayed until 2017

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – The trial for the man accused of intentionally spreading HIV for more than a decade has been pushed back to February of 2017.

Isiah Benford faces 27-criminal counts ranging from aggravated battery to failure to warn his partners of his positive status, which is called “duty to warn.”

The charges are based on accusations from seven different women who claim Benford gave them HIV, one who has developed AIDS.

In court on Thursday, the defense wanted to continue with the trial date of August 15, but the prosecution wanted the trial delayed. The issues were surrounding two additional witnesses who had not been interviewed yet and the alleged victims medical records.

The trial date has been moved to February 6, 2017. Benford was technically released on his own recognizance in connection with the charges in this case. However, Benford was being held in the Vigo County Jail for a charge of robbery in connection with a case from 2014. His bond for that charge was set at $75,000.

Just before 12:30 p.m. 24-Hour News 8’s sister station, WTHI, witnessed Benford leaving the Vigo County Jail after making that bail. Benford would not speak with us this time and immediately left the area.

Vigo County Judge Lewis issued the following statement Thursday morning in relation to the trial:

This needs to fair and balanced on both sides. Defense needs discovery material such as medical reports. To just now have stuff done is not right. This is the most complex case we have had in this court. Everyone’s time has been wasted in this case. I have had sleepless nights. I’m not very happy with the State. I’m resetting this for trial by jury Feb. 6,” Lewis said.

WTHI caught up with Benford outside of the courtroom Thursday morning when he was originally released in connection with this case.

“Put all of my faith in the lord and it was up to the lord.  His will be done. I forgive all of the accusers – you know, I’m not mad at ‘no body’. I just want to thank God and I forgive anybody that’s ever said anything about me and I want those to forgive me too,” Benford said. [How do you feel about getting let out? You get to go home…] “I just want to… You know, start a life you know. And I.. If there is a duty to warn or whatever, I’m just going to follow the rules you know what I mean… I’m not a bad person. I get to be a father to my kids, you know. I just want to do that and I… I don’t want to be seen as a bad person in the eye of the public. So I’m just thanking God…”