HIV-positive ex-convict sentenced for attempted murder of NYC police

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK- An HIV-positive ex-convict who said he tried to kill several police officers and a psychiatric hospital employee by biting them or spitting blood in their faces was sentenced Wednesday to 13 years in prison.

Robert Murray, 33, was not in court when state Supreme Court Justice William A. Wetzel imposed the sentence. He had sent a message saying the Hannibal Lecter-type restraints the judge ordered were "humiliating" and he refused to wear them to court.

The judge said that he ordered the restraints for Murray because of his prior behavior. Murray, a former mental patient, had threatened in past court appearances to attack people around him.

Murray pleaded guilty Aug. 8 to five counts of attempted murder in exchange for the 13-year sentence. He could have been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison on each count if he had been convicted after a trial.

Murray, arrested in April 2003 on a charge of promoting prostitution, was being processed at a police station when he spat saliva and blood into the faces of several officers.

One of the officers, Sgt. Margaret Timlim, said outside court that she was not infected by Murray's spew but had undergone a debilitating year of therapy with anti-AIDS drugs to make sure.

She said she was satisfied with Murray's sentence. "He's already got AIDS, and 13 years is a long time," she said.

Murray also had been accused of chewing a chunk of flesh out of the arm of a mental health worker at the maximum-security Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, prosecutors said.

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