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Joliet man charged with felony for HIV infection

2012-11-03T15:58:00Z Joliet man charged with felony for HIV infectionBy Greg Tuttle Billings Gazette Helena Independent Record
November 03, 2012 3:58 pm  • 

BILLINGS -- A Joliet man scheduled for trial later this month on charges that he shot at two officers and then killed 55 sled dogs is facing a new allegation that he infected his unsuspecting partner with the HIV virus.

Peter Clifton Northcutt, 52, has recently been charged in Carbon County District Court with felony criminal endangerment. He was arrested Tuesday on a $50,000 warrant and is expected to be arraigned next week on the new charge.

Northcutt also is scheduled to go to trial Nov. 13 on 56 charges related to the July 2011 shootings at his residence on Joliet-Fromberg Road.

Northcutt is charged with two felony counts of assault on a peace officer, 53 felony counts of animal cruelty and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.

Prosecutors allege that Northcutt fired a shotgun toward two officers who were sent to check on the man at the request of a worried family member.

After firing at the officers, prosecutors say Northcutt walked through several kennels on his property and shot to death 55 husky and husky-mix sled dogs.

The new charge alleges that Northcutt knew he was infected with the HIV virus and engaged in a three-year sexual relationship with a man without disclosing his medical condition.

The man, identified in court records only by the initials T.V., told investigators that he did not have the virus that causes AIDS before his relationship with Northcutt but later tested positive for the disease.

The information surfaced, according to court records, when Northcutt's defense attorney in the shooting case, Penelope Strong, was interviewing T.V. on Feb. 8.

Strong asked T.V. if he knew Northcutt suffered from HIV.

"No, I did not know that," T.V. responded, according to court records.

"When did you first hear?" Strong asked the man.

"Right now in this office," he responded.

The next day, T.V. took a test for the HIV virus and learned a few days later that he had contracted it.

T.V. told investigators that he met Northcutt in fall 2005 and the men began seeing each other in February or March of the next year. A year later, the men began living together, and the relationship ended in about October 2010, court records state.

Prosecutors said Northcutt's medical records show he has tested positive for HIV since 1997 and for AIDS since 1998.

The criminal endangerment charge alleges that by failing to disclose his medical condition to T.V., Northcutt knowingly engaged in conduct that created a substantial risk of death or serious injury to T.V.

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