A Tampa man accused of tricking his pregnant girlfriend into taking an abortion pill will plead guilty to two federal charges, according to a plea agreement filed Friday.
John Andrew Welden, 28, will plead guilty to tampering with a consumer product that affected interstate or foreign commerce, resulting in bodily injury to an individual, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
As a result, Welden could face up to 15 years in prison - a much lighter option than the mandatory life sentence he would have faced if convicted of another charge the government initially levied in connection with the death of the fetus. The government and his defense are recommending a sentence of 13 years and eight months, but it will be up to the judge to hand down a sentence.
Welden was originally charged with violating the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004," also known as the "Laci and Conner's Law."
According to the plea agreement filed Friday, Welden had some help from an "unidentified co-conspirator" in his scheme to get his girlfriend to miscarry their unborn child. That co-conspirator was an employee at Sunlake Pharmacy, who ordered the Cytotec pills Welden ultimately gave to his girlfriend Remee Lee and gave Welden a fraudulent prescription label and empty pill bottle, according to the plea agreement.
Welden had the pharmacy employee order the Cytotec pills the day before taking Lee to see his father, a doctor, to confirm the pregnancy, according to the document. He later forged his father's signature on a prescription.
Welden, who also had another long-term girlfriend at the time, also admitted to scratching markings off the pills, which he gave to Lee under the guise that she had an infection and was being treated with Amoxicillin.
Lee later experienced severe pain and heavy bleeding, and did lose the baby.