JACKSONVILLE, FL - In May Melissa Jernigan admitted to First Coast News that she knew she was infected with the HIV virus while having unprotected sex with hundreds of men. On Wednesday the 24-year-old woman was moved out of jail and into a halfway house.
Jernigan could go to jail for up to five years if convicted but for now her trial is being placed on hold. Attorney's say that releasing Melissa Jernigan is the best resolution for everyone.
According to Prosecutor Jessica Crowson, "Ms. Jernigan is at all times a threat. However, I believe we have reached an appropriate disposition to protect the community as much as possible. Were we not confident Jacksonville citizens would be protected, this agreement would not have been reached."
Both sides have been working on an agreement for weeks now. A judge ordered Jernigan be released but only if she follows several guidelines. Among the requirements, is a stipulation that she notifies anyone she has sex with that she is HIV positive and uses a contraceptive.
Jernigan is now under house arrest at an assisted living facility and will be monitored 24-hours a day by an electronic ankle bracelet.
The release was granted although psychiatric reports show Jernigan has a long history of mental illness and substance abuse dating back to the age of 5.
Under the agreement the charges against Jernigan could be dropped in July when she makes her next court appearance. Jernigan would then be placed under supervision for a period of time until a judge decides if she is fit to be placed back in society on her own.
First Coast News