By Dave Andrusko
Besides being immensely tragic, there was always something that didn’t sound right in the case of John Andrew Welden, who as you may recall, slipped an abortifacient to Remee Jo Lee, his pregnant girlfriend, in 2013.
Facing a murder charge made possible by the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, Welden cut a deal and in 2014 pled guilty to reduced charges of product tampering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He was sentenced to 13 years and eight months.
The loose end was the exact nature of the involvement of his father, Dr. Stephen Welden, an obstetrician-gynecologist. A new twist in the story is that Andrew Welden’s one-time cellmate, Carl Morgan, came forward to say that while they were in jail together he had asked why Welden didn’t simply pay child support. “My family said it wasn’t an option,” according to Patty Ryan, writing for the Tampa Bay Times.
Here’s how the story unfolded back in 2013:
Welden 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.
She began feeling severe pain and cramps, and “On March 31 , she went to Tampa General Hospital, where she was told the unborn child was dead,” The Tampa Times reported. Ms. Lee’s baby was estimated to be 6-7 weeks old.
What changed? Well, for starters, something I had missed: a civil law suit “filed by victim Remee Jo Lee against Welden’s parents and associates of a now-closed Lutz pharmacy that dispensed the [abortion] drug Cytotec.”
Lee’s lawsuit raises the issue, Ryan writes, did Andrew Welden act alone?
The five-year-old action found new life this summer when a judge ruled that the son, who goes by Andrew, can no longer assert his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. …
He could be questioned under oath at a video deposition as soon as Thursday, though Lee’s attorney has sought a delay.
Such proceedings are held behind closed doors, but public court records list questions that lawyers intend to ask Welden, offering a glimpse of the drama about to unfold.
Among them are these two, from Lee attorney Web Brennan:
“Do you know Carl Morgan?”
“Did you tell Carl Morgan that your parents and you planned this together?”
The long and complicated story is very much reading in its entirety. For our purposes here, there are three more facets that should be briefly discussed.
First, “Ronald Bush, who represents Dr. Welden and [his wife] Lenora Welden in the lawsuit, said he could not comment on ongoing litigation,” according to Ryan’s story.
Second, lawyer “Joseph Kinman Jr., tried unsuccessfully in July to keep [Andrew] Welden from having to submit to the coming deposition.”
Third, to Carl Morgan, Andrew’s “got a heart. He’s not a bad dude.” Ryan explains that Morgan
came away with what he calls the “true story” about Lee’s miscarriage [it wasn’t a miscarriage, it was chemically induced abortion]. He speaks harshly of Welden’s parents. He claims to know who helped Welden deceive Lee by providing a pill label, based on his conversations with Welden. …
After Morgan was released, he kept in touch with his former cellmate by phone and prison e-mail.
He learned that Lee was suing Welden’s parents. In Morgan’s view, the woman was entitled to compensation. If she wanted to keep her baby, she had a right to keep it, he said.
“I took it upon myself personally to write a letter to the lawyer,” he said.
With nothing to gain, he shared what he had learned.