A self-described âpoz vampireâ who had unprotected sex with other men without telling them his HIV positive status has been found guilty of trying to kill his sex partners with the disease.
âThere is no way I was trying to kill anyone,â a shaking Steven Boone told his lawyers before being led sobbing from the prisonerâs box in shackles.
Booneâs mother broke down in tears in the hallway after the verdict late Wednesday. Inside the court, she yelled at a Crown attorney observing the proceedings who she thought was smiling.
âWhat are you smirking about? You think itâs funny?â she asked.
Moments earlier, Boone could be seen becoming emotional as the jury found him guilty of three counts of attempted murder and administering a noxious substance â his semen â on three young men, including a 17-year-old, with whom heâd had unprotected sex. The 17-year-old male later tested positive for HIV.
Boone, 31, was also convicted of three counts of aggravated sex assault. Two of the charges related to two of the men he was convicted of trying to kill. The third count was in relation to a man who he had sex with using a condom.
The jury acquitted him of two counts of aggravated sexual assault in relation to two men who engaged in oral sex with him. Boone told none of the men he was HIV positive.
The guilty verdict signaled that the jury felt there was a realistic possibility of transmission of HIV, even during anal sex using a condom. What wasnât clear was if they concluded Boone had ejaculated in or damaged the condom, which would increase the risk of spreading the disease.
They also concluded the Crown had proved there was an intent to kill three men Boone had unprotected sex with.
However, the juryâs not guilty findings on two of the aggravated sex assault charges mean they didnât find there was a realistic possibility of the transmission of HIV during oral sex where no ejaculation occurred.
What constitutes a ârealistic possibilityâ of HIV transmission was the central issue in the trial.
Canadian law says you donât have to disclose your HIV positive status if there isnât a realistic possibility of transmitting the disease.
The Crown argued that oral sex with an HIV positive person with an unreduced viral load represented a greater risk than unprotected vaginal sex with someone who had a low viral load.
A Supreme Court of Canada decision on the eve of Booneâs trial found that unprotected vaginal sex with a person with a low viral load met the standard of a ârealistic possibilityâof transmitting the disease and required disclosure.
Vaginal sex where the HIV-positive person uses a condom and has a low viral load didnât require disclosure, according to the Supreme Court of Canada decision.
An HIV expert who testified for the Crown concluded the risk in Booneâs case for oral sex without ejaculation was about 1 in 2,000. The risk of transmitting HIV during sex with a condom where there was no ejaculation was about 1 in 1,000, the doctor concluded. Booneâs viral load was considered about average.
An expert who testified for the defense wouldnât put a number on the risk of transmission from oral sex, but opined it was so close to zero it was almost theoretical.
To secure the attempted murder convictions, the Crown relied extensively on sexual chats where Boone often boasted about having unprotected sex with unsuspecting sex partners and teenage virgins.
In his quest to convince people to have âbarebackâ sex, Boone would claim condoms caused cancer and portrayed life with HIV as something that increased your sex drive.
Boone said he âlost countâ of how many HIV negative men he had sex with without telling them he had HIV.
The Crown alleged Boone was part of a disturbing subculture of âbug chasersâ who would try to âstealth pozâ HIV-negative men in an attempt to give them the disease.