By Dave Andrusko
It seemingly came out of the blue. John Andrew Welden admitted tricking his then-girlfriend Remee Jo Lee into taking misoprostol (Cytotec)last March with the intention of causing Ms. Lee to miscarry her 6-7-week-old unborn baby. His lawyers had worked out a plea bargain so that Welden pleaded guilty to lesser charges of consumer product tampering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud as part of a plea bargain to avoid first-degree murder charges under the NRLC-inspired Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
The September agreement between prosecutors and defense attorney Todd Foster recommended a prison term of 13 years and eight months for Welden. And then….
Last month U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara, clearly influenced by a court filing submitted in June by Welden’s attorney, Todd Foster, told both parties that “The Court has grave concerns with regard to whether there exists a true factual basis to support” the plea bargain parties have already signed.
Foster’s filing included an affidavit from Dr. Rebecca Allen, who teaches obstetrics and gynecology at the medical school at Brown University, who “opined that it would be ‘impossible’ for one 200 microgram dose to have caused serious bodily harm and also ‘impossible’ for anyone to definitively say that it induced Lee’s abortion,” according to Patty Ryan, reporting for the Tampa Bay Times.
Judge Lazzara delayed the sentencing and promised to take testimony from experts on the “potency” of Misoprostol—specifically whether a single 200 microgram dose could have induced Ms. Lee’s miscarriage. That is what the court will hear today and tomorrow.
Originally a federal grand jury indicted 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. Had Weldon been convicted on that charge, Weldon would have faced a mandatory life sentence without parole.
Weldon told Ms. Lee that his physician father said that she had an infection and he was bringing her antibiotics. After scratched identifying markings off the Cytotec pills, Welden then put the fraudulent label on the empty pill bottle and put the altered Cytotec pills inside. (Cytotec can be used to induce contractions.)
Welden “also affixed a second label to the bottle reading, ‘Amoxicillin: 125mg oral tablet,’ a common antibiotic,” according to reporter Elaine Silverstrini. Ms. Lee began feeling severe pain and cramps, The Tampa Times reported, and “On March 31 , she went to Tampa General Hospital, where she was told the unborn child was dead.” Ms. Lee’s baby was estimated to be 6-7 weeks old.