Man facing murder charge over fatal HIV infection

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In what’s being called the first case of its kind in Lucas County, a Toledo man appeared in court Monday accused of infecting his late girlfriend with HIV.


Ron J. Murdock allegedly had unprotected sex with his girlfriend without telling her he was HIV-positive.


Ron J. Murdock, 51, of the 3200 block of Cragmoor Avenue, was indicted Thursday by a Lucas County grand jury on murder and felonious assault charges in the Feb. 5 death of Kimberly Klempner, 51. The two were involved in a five-year relationship, and prosecutors allege Ms. Klempner became infected with the virus that causes AIDS while having unprotected sex with Mr. Murdock between June 1, 2011 and Oct. 1, 2016.

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Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates said state law allows her office to pursue a murder conviction when someone “absolutely knew that he had it and that he was infecting someone by having unprotected sex with someone who was not aware of his medical condition.”

Under Ohio law, an individual who knows he or she has tested positive for a virus that causes AIDS may be charged with felonious assault for engaging in sexual conduct with another person without disclosing that information to the other person before the sexual conduct.

Likewise, if the other person is infected in that way and dies from the disease, the person who infected her or him may be prosecuted for murder.

Jeff Lingo, chief of the special units division for the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office, likened the situation to a shooting, stabbing, or assault that turns fatal.

“If you shoot someone and you claim that you weren’t trying to kill them, you were just trying to hurt them, you can still be charged with murder if they die,” Mr. Lingo said. “You knowingly engaged in that conduct, and that conduct proximately caused their death.”

Mrs. Bates said her office has prosecuted at least eight defendants for felonious assault for infecting another with HIV, but she was unaware of any local cases that had been prosecuted as murder when the victim died.

“If both parties are consenting and consenting with full knowledge of what the dangers are, that’s one thing, but to keep a deadly disease secret and private and not tell is pretty awful,” she said.

Ms. Klempner’s son, Joshua, said before court Tuesday his mother suffered from Crohn’s disease and discovered she was HIV-positive after the medications she took for Crohn’s stopped working and she became ill.

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He said he believes Mr. Murdock has infected others.

“My mom wasn’t the only victim,” he said. “Right there, that tells you he was out there and he didn’t give a care.”

According to the Ohio Department of Health, Ms. Klempner died Feb. 5 at Advanced Specialty Hospital in Toledo. Her death was ruled “natural” due to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook set bond at $1.5 million for Mr. Murdock, who is being held in the Lucas County jail.

Toledo attorney Pete Rost told the court Mr. Murdock had spoken with him and Sam Kaplan about representing him but that they had not yet been hired. Judge Cook scheduled arraignment for June 13.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: [email protected] or 419-213-2134.