State board denies parole to former Lafayette doctor convicted of injecting mistress with AIDS, hepatitis C _lowres

Advocate file photograph by Bradley K. Bigley --..Dr. Richard SchmidtLafayette, La...2nd degree attempted murder charge. Schmidt is pictured on 7-26-96

A former Lafayette doctor who is 17 years into a 50-year prison sentence for injecting his ex-mistress with the AIDS virus was denied parole at a Thursday hearing in Baton Rouge.

Richard J. Schmidt, 66, was convicted of attempted second-degree murder in 1998 in a case that attracted international media attention.

A three-member state parole panel voted unanimously Thursday against Schmidt’s bid for release, said Daniel Landry III, first assistant with the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Schmidt has never admitted wrongdoing, and Landry said the former doctor on Thursday continued to dispute the evidence against him.

“He denied his guilt and continues to maintain his innocence,” Landry said.

The hearing on Thursday was the former doctor’s first attempt for parole.

Schmidt, who is serving his time at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, is not eligible for early release for good behavior until 2023, Landry said.

Schmidt was convicted of injecting nurse Janice Trahan Allen with a tainted shot in 1994 after she ended a long-term extramarital affair with the doctor.

Prosecutors said the shot, given under the guise of a B-12 vitamin injection, was filled with blood drawn from two of Schmidt’s patients — one with AIDS and another with hepatitis C.

The victim, who has survived, testified against Schmidt’s release at Thursday’s hearing, Landry said.

Schmidt exhausted his appeals in state court about 10 years ago and also challenged his conviction for several years in the federal court system, including failed attempts to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case, said 15th Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes, who prosecuted Schmidt in the 1990s while working as assistant district attorney.

The case relied heavily on then-novel DNA analysis techniques used to compare the AIDS virus that infected Allen with the AIDS virus found in one of Schmidt’s patients.

At trial and in his appeals, Schmidt tried unsuccessfully to discredit the science behind that comparison.

Schmidt had a successful gastroenterology practice for more than 20 years in Lafayette before his conviction.