Magazine article Newsweek

A Deadly Attraction: Did a Doctor Inject His Former Lover with HIV?

Magazine article Newsweek

A Deadly Attraction: Did a Doctor Inject His Former Lover with HIV?

Article excerpt

HE WAS A CHARISMATIC doctor--married, with three children. She was his much younger, adoring assistant. For a decade, they were lovers; she even bore him a son, now almost 6 years old. But in 1994, when Janice Trahan decided to break up with Richard Schmidt, he exacted a terrible revenge--according to authorities in Lafayette, La.--by injecting her with blood from an AIDS patient. Late last month, Schmidt, a 48-year-old gastroenterologist, was charged with the attempted murder of Trahan, 33, who was diagnosed HIV-positive four months after Schmidt's alleged nocturnal house call. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $500,000 bond.

"It was the ultimate fatal attraction," says attorney Kent Mercier, who represents the patient from whom authorities believe the tainted blood was taken. Schmidt, Trahan told police, had vowed never to let his lover leave, even threatening to ensure that no man would want her and that she would die. While they were still seeing each other, Schmidt often gave her B12 shots to boost her energy. On the night of Aug. 4, 1994, Trahan says, she awoke to find Schmidt standing over her bed with a hypodermic needle in his hand, claiming it was just another pep shot. She says she protested, but he was insistent. Seconds after that, she says, she felt the sharp prick of the needle, and then he was gone. Schmidt denies being there that night.

Trahan was pregnant at the time (the father was her current husband, whom she married in February). …

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