Tampa man accused of killing ex-girlfriend's unborn child - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa man accused of killing ex-girlfriend's unborn child

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Previous court recordings obtained by the Tampa Tribune detail why the 28-year-old son of a Florida fertility doctor has been charged by federal authorities with tricking his girlfriend into taking a pill used to induce labor and cause an abortion, killing the fetus she was carrying.

John Andrew Welden was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of product tampering and first-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the murder charge. He's also the defendant in a lawsuit filed in state court by his ex-girlfriend, 26-year-old Remee Lee.

"Whenever a woman is robbed of her ability to give birth and have a child, I don't think there's any greater harm you can cause somebody," said Lee's attorney, Gil Sanchez. "She's devastated. She still can't believe this happened to her."

David Weisbrod, who represented Welden in the first federal court appearance Wednesday, declined to comment to The Associated Press. During the hearing Wednesday, Weisbrod characterized his client's actions as aberrant, but said Welden had no criminal history. A U.S. magistrate judge ordered him held without bond.

"He made it perfectly clear to me numerous times he didn't want the child," Remee Lee said in an emotionally-charged hearing in April when she was attempting to get a restraining order against Welden.

According to court documents, the couple met in mid-2012 and became romantically involved. Lee became pregnant in February 2013 and was elated about her pregnancy when she told Welden the news.

"All I wanted was the child," she said. "I never thought he'd be capable to do something like this to me."

Welden urged Lee not to have the baby.

In late March, the records say, Lee went to the office of Dr. Stephen Welden, her boyfriend's father, for an exam.

Court records say Welden told Lee that his father had discovered she had a bacterial infection and had prescribed an antibiotic, Amoxicillin, to treat her.

Lee and her attorney, along with federal prosecutors, say Welden forged his father's signature on a prescription for Cytotec and relabeled a pill bottle as "Amoxicillin." Cytotec, known also as misoprostol, is a drug used to induce labor.

It is typically taken in conjunction with another drug, mifepristone, to cause an abortion during the first nine weeks of pregnancy. Mifepristone, which is typically taken first, causes an embryo to detach from the uterine wall. Misoprostol is typically taken two days later to cause contractions and push the embryo out of the uterus. These drugs are not the same as Plan B, or the "morning after pill", which is intended to prevent pregnancy.

Lee was six weeks and five days pregnant.

"I started bleeding and I got ... I just knew there was something wrong after I ate that medicine," she said. "He came to try and retrieve the pills. I had them put away because I did go to a pharmacist and he said they were not amoxicillin."

Welden said she began to bleed while at work and went to the hospital, where she discovered that she had been given the drug used in medically induced abortions.

Court records say Welden told Lee while she was at the hospital that he had given her Cytotec, not Amoxicillin. Lee is suing Welden for battery, intentional infliction of emotional harm, and punitive damages.

She said she had planned a future with and wanted to "watch cartoons, play with toys and be happy for once and he took all of that away from me. I don't know why he did this. I don't know why he hates me so much. I don't know why this was so bad to have baby with me. I don't know what's wrong with me that we just couldn't be happy."

Welden's father, the doctor, has not been accused of wrongdoing, and has not been charged with any crime. Someone answering the phone at his OB-GYN office in Tampa hung up when a reporter called.

Attorney Kevin Hayslett is not involved in the case, but he says it may have far-reaching implications.

Hayslett says, "You've got to remember, this is a federal case now, so this affects every state."

Hayslett says the facts of the case may put a father's rights against those of a mother.

"Every day in Anytown USA, there is mother who makes the decision that she is going to abort the unborn fetus," says Hayslett. "Yet, the father wants the child. The father has no right to force her to have that child, and when she aborts the child, the federal government or the state government takes zero action against her, there's no crime, there is no civil action, and yet the father has standing because technically, it's half his."

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @wflatampa

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • TPD claims training stories fell short

    TPD claims training stories fell short

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:12 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:12:02 GMT
    The Tampa police department is responding to an 8 On Your Side investigation into a January shooting.The police contend the reports were incomplete and contained errors.The stories focused on a January 9th police shooting in Tampa and the lack of crisis intervention team training at T.P.D.
    The Tampa police department is responding to an 8 On Your Side investigation into a January shooting.The police contend the reports were incomplete and contained errors.The stories focused on a January 9th police shooting in Tampa and the lack of crisis intervention team training at T.P.D.
  • TPD responds to story controversy surrounding police shooting

    TPD responds to story controversy surrounding police shooting

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 16:48:17 GMT
    Jason TurkJason Turk
    An 8 On Your Side investigation into police shooting and the lack of Crisis Intervention Team training at the Tampa police department is not sitting well with T.P.D.Police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 management with the subject line labeled, "The Rest of the Story
    An 8 On Your Side investigation into police shooting and the lack of Crisis Intervention Team training at the Tampa police department is not sitting well with T.P.D.Police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 management with the subject line labeled, "The Rest of the Story
  • Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificate for credit report error

    Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificate for credit report error

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:26:13 GMT
    James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.
    James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Dover families concerned about a chemical they say causes illness

    Dover families concerned about a chemical they say causes illness

    Thursday, August 21 2014 11:18 PM EDT2014-08-22 03:18:52 GMT
    Concerned families met with representatives from Arkema who sell the chemical Palacin that Zentkovich is concerned about Concerned families met with representatives from Arkema who sell the chemical Palacin that Zentkovich is concerned about
    After two years of illness, Mary Zentkovich wants answers about what is making her family sick.“ Zentkovich thinks the fumigant Paladin being used in nearby strawberry fields is the reason for her family's and other neighbor's illnesses.
    After two years of illness, Mary Zentkovich wants answers about what is making her family sick.“ Zentkovich thinks the fumigant Paladin being used in nearby strawberry fields is the reason for her family's and other neighbor's illnesses.
  • Teen's death could cause change to state fair

    Teen's death could cause change to state fair

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:49 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:49:31 GMT
    Andrew JosephAndrew Joseph
    The parents of Andrew Joseph spoke at the monthly Hillsborough NAACP meeting Thursday night.
    The parents of Andrew Joseph spoke at the monthly Hillsborough NAACP meeting Thursday night.

  • Funeral home removal service employee charged with stealing from dead woman

    Funeral home removal service employee charged with stealing from dead woman

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:02 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:02:13 GMT
    Pinellas County Sheriff Deputies arrested a funeral home removal service employee after they claim he stole jewelry from deceased woman while he was in her home to remove her body.
    Pinellas County Sheriff Deputies arrested a funeral home removal service employee after they claim he stole jewelry from deceased woman while he was in her home to remove her body.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Haircuts for the Homeless

    Haircuts for the Homeless

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:38 AM EDT2014-08-20 15:38:55 GMT
    On his days off, stylist Mark Bustos gives free haircuts to the homeless of New York City. Here are some of the transformations.
    On his days off, stylist Mark Bustos gives free haircuts to the homeless of New York City. Here are some of the transformations.
  • 59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:30:28 GMT
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
  • VIDEO: Grouper snatches shark in one bite

    VIDEO: Grouper snatches shark in one bite

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:44 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:44:27 GMT
    Clip of video from YouTubeClip of video from YouTube
    One bite: that's all it apparently took for a grouper to eat a 4-foot shark in a video posted to YouTube, according to user Gimbb14.
    One bite: that's all it apparently took for a grouper to eat a 4-foot shark in a video posted to YouTube, according to user Gimbb14.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.