McConnell airman gets eight-year sentence in HIV sex case

01/19/2011 12:00 AM

03/30/2012 4:49 PM

WICHITA —Tech. Sgt. David Gutierrez has been sentenced to eight years of confinement, dishonorable discharge and a reduction in rank to the lowest rank for an enlisted military member, Lt. Col. William Muldoon ruled this afternoon.

Gutierrez will forfeit all wages and benefits.

The 43-year-old had begged Muldoon to not dishonorably discharge him so he could continue to receive the benefits that pay for his medication for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Gutierrez was convicted today of seven counts of aggravated assault, eight counts of adultery, one count of disobeying an order and one count of indecent acts on multiple occasions for having sexual relations with several people without disclosing he was HIV-positive.

The charges stem from Gutierrez's participation in a swinging lifestyle that centered on promiscuous sex. Eight women testified earlier this week that they never would have had sex with Gutierrez if they had known he was positive for HIV. They said they trusted him and believed him when he said he was clean and free of sexually transmitted diseases.

Some of the women had sex with Gutierrez with their husbands or boyfriends present. They testified that Gutierrez's wife also participated at times.

One of the women said she learned Gutierrez was HIV-positive when news of the case broke last year. She said the experience has impacted her by putting her "on the defense in the lifestyle I enjoy."

Gutierrez's lawyers noted that the women already were living a high-risk lifestyle before meeting Gutierrez.

Gutierrez asked for leniency.

"Please have mercy on me on this matter," Gutierrez said in military court, crying throughout his statement. He told Muldoon he wants to see his two children, whom he called his pride and joy, graduate from college, get married and have their own children.

"Your honor, I humbly stand here before you," Gutierrez said, pulling a tissue from a box to blow his nose before continuing. "I am not a perfect man, and I have made some mistakes."

He asked the judge to consider his 20 years of military service when imposing a sentence.

"I am well aware that whatever outcome today, my Air Force career is over," Gutierrez said. "My 20 years will amount to little. I know I brought this on myself."

Gutierrez apologized to his superiors, to the Air Force, to his family and to his sexual partners.

"I am sincerely sorry from the bottom of my heart," Gutierrez said. "I know I cannot change the past as much as I wish I could."

Capt. Sam Kidd, one of the prosecutors, said Gutierrez repeatedly "played Russian roulette with the lives of people in this community." He said it was "pure luck" that none of Gutierrez's sexual partners were not infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

"The accused was not thinking about how his victims would pay for their medical treatment," Kidd said.

Gutierrez's court-martial is the second at McConnell this year. There were four court-martials in 2008, 11 in 2009 and 19 in 2010.

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