By Dave Andrusko
After one false start, the man convicted of tricking his pregnant girlfriend into taking a drug that caused her to abort her baby, will be sentenced today.
Last September attorneys for John Andrew Welden worked a plea bargain where Welden plead 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 agreement between prosecutors and Foster recommended a prison term of 13 years and eight months for Welden.
But at the eleventh hour, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara felt compelled to revisit an argument made in court filings by the defense: that it couldn’t be definitively proven that a single 200 microgram dose of Cytotec (misoprostol) caused Remee Jo Lee to lose her 6-7-week-old unborn baby.
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But after two days of testimony from experts Lazzara rejected the two complementary explanations the defense offered for why Ms. Lee lost her baby last March, or at least why it could not be attributed to Welden’s actions.
As for the alleged lack of potency of a single dose, “The judge said defense experts merely served as conduits for information they found in scientific literature, which the judge said amounted to no more than case studies with little supporting information,” according to the Tampa Tribune’s Elaine Silvestrini. “This, he said, was ‘useless to me in determining a relationship of Misoprostol to a particular side effect.’”
Then Welden’s attorneys cited “medical records showing Lee was already experiencing bleeding in her seventh week of pregnancy suggesting other factors may have led to the miscarriage,” reported WTSP’s Eric Glasser.
But “The suggestion that prior to the ingestion of this highly toxic drug, this victim was experiencing a spontaneous abortion is just speculation not supported by the record,” Judge Lazzara said. “The only rational explanation for what caused the demise of the victim’s embryo was her ingestion of one dose of 200 micrograms of Misoprostol.”
The prosecution said Welden’s motivation was that he wanted to keep his other girlfriend from learning of Lee’s pregnancy.