Tampa, Florida - Amid tight security, John Andrew Welden left federal
court Monday looking at a hefty prison sentence, but not life behind
bars. The 28-year-old avoided a first-degree murder charge by accepting a
With his former girlfriend, Remee Jo Lee, looking on, Welden admitted to Judge Richard Lazzara that he tricked Lee into taking the abortion pill Cytotec. To do that, Welden forged a prescription using his father's name, an OB/GYN, and put a phony Amoxicillin label on the bottle.
After taking one pill, Lee, who was six to seven weeks pregnant, miscarried.
See also: Parents of "Abortion Pill Victim" Remee Lee speak out
After the hearing, Welden's attorney Todd Foster told reporters that
no one "feels good" pleading guilty, but that the stakes of going
forward with a trial were high. "The possibility of a mandatory life
sentence, no discretion to the judge, obviously is a big factor," said
At times on Monday, while listening to the recitation of the case facts, Lee daubed her eyes with a tissue.
After the hearing, Lee did not speak, but her attorney made a
statement regarding the plea deal. "This has been an extremely difficult
time for the Remee family, the Lee family, and nothing is going to
bring back what was taken from her," said Gil Sanchez.
For now, Welden continues to be on house arrest, with his family
paying for two around-the-clock guards. However, with a plea in place,
and a reduced prison sentence likely, his attorney intends to argue for a
Welden's sentencing date is scheduled for December 5. His attorneys
and prosecutors have agreed to a proposed prison sentence of 13 years
and eight months, with three years of supervision afterwards. However
the judge can deviate from that recommendation.