Richard J. Schmidt, who Louisiana convicted in 1998 for attempted second-degree murder, has now died.
Who is Dr. Richard J. Schmidt?
Richard J Schmidt was a doctor and a former physician. The former Lafayette doctor was charged with the second-degree murder of his former mistress with HIV-tainted blood.
In his case, viral RNA was used for the first time in the history of forensic science to establish a connection between two individuals who had the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, as it is more often known.
In 1994 Schmidt used a sample of HIV blood on his former mistress and co-worker, Janice Trahan. This caused her to contract HIV, and six months later, she was diagnosed. He could do so because he kept her under the false pretense of giving her a Vitamin B injection.
After receiving the diagnosis, she got all her former partners and ex-husband tested, but all were shown to be negative for HIV. Because of this, the Louisiana police were suspicious and decided to further investigate her claims.
Dr. Richard J. Schmidt Cause of death
Richard J. Schmidt was 74 years old at the time of his death. According to Ken Pastorick, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Correct spokesperson, he died at Baton Rouge hospital on February 12th.
Schmidt was incarcerated at Elaine hunt correctional center in Saint Gabriel. The exact cause of death of the former Lafayette doctor was not released to the public.
He was still in custody during his death, serving his 50-year sentence at the correctional center in Saint Gabriel.
Dr. Schmidt convicted of attempted second-degree murder
Doctor Schmidt was arrested for attempted second-degree murder after further investigation proved it. According to reports, the detectives who were examining the hospital records found out that the HIV blood that he had taken from one of his patients for testing was never sent to the lab.
This led the police to visit the man whose blood was taken. When the investigators asked the patient, he disclosed that he had AIDS and that Schmidt had called him that evening to take his blood for testing. This happened the same evening when Trahan was given her ‘Vitamin B’ injections.
How was the case disclosed?
The virus was analyzed through strain analysis to determine whether its RNA matched the victim’s. This was the first time this had happened. After testing, the scientists concluded that the 2 viruses’ RNA, i.e., From the victim and the patient, almost matched exactly, even when the HIV has the potential to mutate rapidly.
It was also disclosed that Janis contracted Hepatitis C around the same time. In 1998, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.