By Dave Andrusko
On May 17, National Right to Life wrote about John Andrew Welden, a Florida man who had been indicted on a federal charge that he murdered his own unborn child by tricking Remee Jo Lee, his then-girlfriend, into taking an drug that killed her 6-7-week old unborn child.
Three days prior a federal grand jury had indicted the 28-year-old Weldon on two federal charges, one of them a murder charge made possible by the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act legislation that was instigated by NRLC and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2004. If convicted on that charge, Weldon would have faced a mandatory life sentence without parole. (See http://nrlc.cc/15hiwaQ.)
Yesterday Welden formally agreed to lesser charges that could result in imprisonment of up to 15 years. (“The plea agreement recommends that Welden serve 13 years and 8 months, preferably at a low-security federal prison camp, as punishment,” the Associated Press reported.)
Prosecutors dropped the murder charge as part of a plea agreement. Welden pleaded guilty to tampering with a consumer product and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Prosecutors and Lee said Welden forged the signature of his father, a Tampa-area obstetrician, on a prescription for Cytotec which can be used to induce labor. Welden admitted he scratched off the label and relabeled it as amoxicillin, a common antibiotic. Welden told Lee that his father said Lee had an infection and told her to take the mislabeled medication.
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“Then, shortly before 4 p.m., she took one pill and ‘began feeling severe pain and cramps,’ the record states,” The Tampa Times reported. “On March 31 , she went to Tampa General Hospital, where she was told the unborn child was dead.”
The conspiracy to commit mail fraud charge came about because “The pills arrived by Federal Express after the pharmacy employee ordered them on Welden’s behalf from a Michigan company,” the Tampa Times’ Patty Ryan reported.
Prior stories have talked about the possibility that further charges could be filed against an “unidentified co-conspirator,” an employee of Sunlake Pharmacy in Lutz, Florida. In the plea document the unnamed employee is alleged to have created “a fraudulent patient profile for Lee and then gave Welden an empty pill bottle and a prescription label with Lee’s name on it,” according Ryan.
“At the time the (employee) was preparing the false and fraudulent prescription label, the (employee) was also in the process of filling the prescription for Cytotec for the defendant,” the record states.