A Tampa man will admit in court to tricking his pregnant ex-girlfriend into taking a pill he believed would cause her to have a miscarriage, according to a plea agreement filed Friday in federal court.
John Welden, 28, is scheduled to plead guilty at a hearing Monday to tampering with a consumer product and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The agreement recommends 13 years and eight months in prison. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted of his original charge, killing an unborn child.
According to court documents, the Welden and Remee Jo Lee met in mid-2012 and became romantically involved. Lee became pregnant in February 2013 and was elated about her pregnancy when she told Welden the news. Welden, however, urged Lee not to have the baby.
In late March, the records say, Lee went to the office of Dr. Stephen Welden, her boyfriend's father, for an exam.
Court records say Welden told Lee that his father had discovered she had a bacterial infection and had prescribed an antibiotic, Amoxicillin, to treat her.
Lee and her attorney — along with federal prosecutors — said Welden forged his father's signature on a prescription for Cytotec and relabeled a pill bottle as "Amoxicillin." Cytotec, known also as misoprostol, is a drug used to induce labor.
It is typically taken in conjunction with another drug, mifepristone, to cause an abortion during the first nine weeks of pregnancy. Mifepristone, which is typically taken first, causes an embryo to detach from the uterine wall. Misoprostol is typically taken two days later to cause contractions and push the embryo out of the uterus.
Lee was six weeks and five days pregnant.
Lee said she began to bleed while at work and went to the hospital — where she discovered that she had been given the drug used in medically induced abortions.
Court records say Welden told Lee while she was at the hospital that he had given her Cytotec, not Amoxicillin.
Welden's father, the doctor, has not been accused of wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime.
An afterhours telephone message left with Welden's attorney wasn't immediately returned.
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