Coming To An End

MAYVILLE – Closing arguments in the civil confinement trial of Nushawn Williams are scheduled to take place this morning at the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville.

The summations are expected to begin at 9 a.m., a clerk in the courthouse confirmed. The jury will then receive instructions from the judge and begin their deliberations.

The civil trial for Williams, who now goes by the name Shyteek Johnson, began last week and featured numerous health experts on behalf of the state Attorney General’s Office and defense.

Williams pleaded guilty in 1999 to statutory rape and reckless endangerment after police said he knowingly infected more than a dozen women with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS. The former Jamestown resident completed his 12-year sentence in 2010, but has remained in prison under the state’s civil confinement law for sex offenders.

John Nuchereno, Williams’ attorney, said Williams never had HIV and pointed to recent blood tests conducted at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Gregory Hendricks, a cell biologist at the university, concluded Williams did not have the virus, Nuchereno said.

Hendricks reportedly took the stand during the trial, which has been closed to the public. Nuchereno, meanwhile, said Thursday he could not discuss the trial.

Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone, who briefly represented Williams before being relieved due to a conflict of interest, said any trial involving scientific analysis should be closely monitored.

“Not speaking on Mr. Williams’ case, but anytime there is scientific evidence, there has to be questions on how things were collected,” Barone said. “Were things done properly? Is the evidence credible?

“You have to determine whether the scientific testing done was generally excepted or not.”

Assistant Attorney General Joseph Muia Jr. and Wendy Whiting are representing the state. The Attorney General’s Office has declined comment during the trial.