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AIDS-INFECTED INMATE GETS 25 YEARS FOR BITING GUARD

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An AIDS-infected jail inmate convicted of attempted murder after biting a guard received a 25-year prison sentence Friday, prompting courtroom protesters to shout "shame, shame" at the judge.

Gregory D. Smith, 26, was serving a five-year term in Camden County jail for robbery when he bit Officer Albert Waddington during a scuffle in a hospital emergency room.Smith was convicted April 11 of attempted murder, four counts of aggravated assault and one count of making terroristic threats.

Waddington, 26, said Smith bit him three times on the hand, spat on him and said, "Now die, you pig. Die from what I have."

Judy Greenspan, who monitors AIDS-related cases for the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project, was among a group of protesters in the crowded courtroom.

"Mr. Smith is the victim," she yelled.

Superior Court Judge John B. Mariano added the 25-year sentence to Smith's robbery sentence. The judge said Smith must serve at least 121/2 years before becoming eligible for parole.

"The weapon of choice was not his fist but rather his teeth and saliva," Mariano said. "His only purpose was to give the guard a slow and agonizing death, which evidences the depravity of his actions."

After Mariano sentenced Smith, about 20 protesters stood and began chanting: "Shame! Shame! Shame on you judge!"

Smith tested positive for HIV, human immunodeficiency virus, in 1985. Waddington has not tested positive for the virus, but is undergoing psychiatric counseling.

"It's clear that this defendant wanted to spread the disease," said prosecutor Harold Kasselman. "Whether it could happen or not, that was his intentions."

The biting took place as sheriff's officers tried to remove Smith from an emergency room after he was brought there complaining of back pain. A scuffle broke out after doctors, who believed Smith was faking, refused to take X-rays.

The case was the first of its kind in New Jersey and has come under close scrutiny from legal and medical experts around the nation.

Smith said he plans to appeal the conviction.