A Parent's Unthinkable Crime: Injecting Son With HIV

'I wouldn't even recognize him as my father'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2016 10:40 AM CDT
A Parent's Unthinkable Crime: Injecting Son With HIV
In this 2009 photo, Brryan Jackson stands still as his mother, Jennifer Jackson, fixes his hair at their home in St. Charles, Mo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

There's a reason Brryan Jackson spells his first name with two r's and uses his mother's surname. It's to put as much distance as possible between himself and his father, Bryan Stewart, which is more than understandable: When Jackson was a baby in 1992, Stewart stole a vial of tainted blood and deliberately infected his son with HIV, hoping he'd die and free him of child support. Jackson defied doctors' expectations and lived, while Stewart is now serving life in prison. The BBC catches up with Jackson, now a 25-year-old motivational speaker, who earlier this year pleaded with his father's parole board in Missouri to keep him locked up. (They did.) "I tried to keep my eyes forward," Jackson recalls of being in the same room with his dad that day.

"I recognized him from his mugshot, but I have no connection to him," Jackson says. "I wouldn't even recognize him as my father." The BBC story covers the crime itself, which went undetected for four years as Jackson got sicker and sicker; Jackson's childhood struggles with his illness ("I remember waking up in the middle of the night screaming, 'Please Mom don't let me die!'"); and his eventual forgiveness of his father, though he still wants him to pay the consequences in jail. His HIV is undetectable today thanks to medication, and his big goal is to have children himself one day. "A dad is one of the things in life I think I am meant to be," he says. "I'd like to root my kids in hope." Click to read the full story. (More Longform stories.)

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