- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA (AP) - A 29-year old man with a contagious disease was charged with attempted murder Tuesday after he spit on a hospital worker.

Andre LaFrance, of Wasilla, “intentionally transferred a dangerous bodily fluid” onto the worker Monday at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, State troopers said. LaFrance has hepatitis C, an infectious disease that can cause liver damage.

Corrections Sgt. Walter Erickson described the man as “very, very unstable,” and said that he was under suicide watch at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility in Palmer.

Authorities were very cautious and would use a spit-hood on LaFrance if necessary, Erickson said. To further protect themselves, jailers were instructing LaFrance to step to the back of the cell before dealing with him.

Charges filed against LaFrance also include harassment. Bail initially was set at $50,000, but has since been reduced to $2,500, Erickson said.

Troopers did not immediately release details leading to LaFrance’s arrest. Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters referred questions to charging documents, which were not immediately available.

Hospital spokeswoman Kerry Aguirre said she did not have details of the case.

LaFrance has a lengthy criminal history in Alaska, according to state records and Erickson.

“He’s not a first-timer to the system,” he said.

One open case was an unrelated 2010 charge of driving with a license suspended or revoked in Anchorage.

James Gould, LaFrance’s attorney in that case, said his client recently mentioned being in the Mat-Su hospital, but did not identify his condition.

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