Pre-med University of South Florida student John Andrew Welden arrested for tricking girlfriend into taking abortion pill
10:58 AM, May 16, 2013 | 5 comments
Welden is facing a possible life sentence after the feds accused him of tricking his girlfriend, 26-year-old Remee Lee, into taking an abortion pill.
According to the federal indictment, 28-year-old Welden forged the signature of his physician father, Dr. Stephen Welden, an OB/GYN, for a prescription pill that can terminate pregnancy. He then allegedly switched the label to make it look like a bottle of antibiotics.
Lee lost the baby a short time later.
There's no answer at Welden's Lake Magdalene home. Neighbors say he shares the house with his brother and was very quiet. According to his Facebook page, Welden was a pre-med student at the University of South Florida.
The alleged crime is so egregious, it's already blowing up radio talk shows. Welden's father's medical office in Carrollwood was quiet after hours.
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TAMPA, Fla. — The 28-year-old son of a Florida fertility doctor has been charged by federal authorities with tricking his girlfriend into taking a pill used to induce labor and cause an abortion, killing the embryo she was carrying.
John Andrew Welden was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of product tampering and first-degree murder and faces up to life in prison if convicted of the murder charge. He's also the defendant in a lawsuit filed in state court by his ex-girlfriend, 26-year-old Remee Lee.
"Whenever a woman is robbed of her ability to give birth and have a child, I don't think there's any greater harm you can cause somebody," said Lee's attorney, Gil Sanchez. "She's devastated. She still can't believe this happened to her."
David Weisbrod, who represented Welden in the first federal court appearance Wednesday, declined to comment to The Associated Press. During a court hearing Wednesday, Weisbrod characterized his client's actions as aberrant but said Welden had no criminal history. A U.S. magistrate judge ordered him held without bond.
Prosecutors say Welden's murder charge applies because it falls under a rarely used federal statute known as the "Protection of Unborn Children Act."
According to court documents, the couple 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, Amoxicillan, to treat her.
Lee and her attorney – along with federal prosecutors – say 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.