While still facing up to 30 years in prison, Michael Johnson was granted parole this week, according to a report from BuzzFeed. 

Before his arrest in 2013, Johnson was a star wrestler at Lindenwood University where he fought under the name “Tiger Mandingo.” He stood out not just for his prowess in the ring but because he was one of the few black students at the school.

Johnson was arrested and charged with two counts of HIV transmission and four counts of exposure. He was convicted on one count of transmission and four counts of exposure. It is a crime in the United States to knowingly expose one's partner to the virus; those who are HIV-positive are required to share that they have the virus with any partner they plan to have sex with.

Johnson's trial was plagued with controversy. During jury selection, potential jurors were asked if being gay is a choice, and images of Johnson's penis and racially-charged descriptions of it were presented to the court. That trial, which resulted in a jail sentence of 30 years and six months, was overturned in appeals court after a judge found that the prosecution had failed to correctly disclose evidence. Johnson's original sentence was reduced to 10 years as part of a plea deal.

Johnson is incarcerated at Boonville Correctional Facility and will remain there until Oct. 9, 2019, when he will have served six of his 10 years. Meredith Rowan, a friend of Johnson's who spoke to him about the news said, "Michael was excited that it got approved." 

Rowan said that Johnson told her, "'I have to look at it that I have a date, and it’s only 18 months away, and it’s still a lot sooner than a 30-year sentence.'”

Johnson’s lawyers, Eric Selig and Jessica Hathaway, said, ”We had some hopes, because of all the support Michael had received and a couple of other factors, that he would get out at an earlier date." 

Johnson plans to live in Indiana with Rowan and her family for the duration of his parole.