AIDS: Anatomy of a Murder Charge

Anatomy of a Murder Charge

"Kill me! Kill me! I have AIDS!" yelled Joseph Markowski, a drifter and prostitute, as he tried to grab a Los Angeles bank guard's gun. Detained for a 72-hour mental-health observation, he was released prematurely by county health officials the following day. Meanwhile the police were investigating a disturbing item found in his clothes: a receipt for $9 from a Los Angeles plasma center.

The next day, when Markowski returned to the center to sell more blood, he was arrested and charged with attempted murder. Los Angeles County District Attorney Ira Reiner calls Markowski's actions "the moral equivalent of the person...