A federal judge delayed on Monday the sentencing of a Tampa man accused of tricking his pregnant ex-girlfriend into taking a pill that caused her to have a miscarriage.
Sentencing for John Andrew Welden, 28, was scheduled for Tuesday for tampering with a consumer product and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. During Monday's emergency hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara delayed the sentencing amid concerns over whether the pill caused the miscarriage.
A status hearing was set for Thursday.
Prosecutors said Welden forged a signature on a prescription for a pill used to induce labor. He forged the signature in March of 2013 on a prescription for Cytotec and relabeled a pill bottle as "amoxicillin" before telling his ex-girlfriend Remee Jo Lee to take the pills, they said.
Welden admitted in a plea agreement that he forged the signature of his father, who is a Tampa-area obstetrician. Welden's father has not been accused of wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime.
The younger Welden told Lee that his father said she had an infection and told her to take the mislabeled medication. Lee, who was about six or seven weeks pregnant, experienced severe cramps and pain and went to the hospital. She miscarried shortly thereafter.
Welden is free on supervised release until his next sentencing hearing.
The plea agreement recommends that Welden serve 13 years and 8 months in prison, but the federal judge in the case has said that without evidence that the pill caused the miscarriage, Welden may face less time.
"I believe the plea is in front of the judge, and now he is going to make his own factual findings," defense attorney Todd Foster said. "So he wants to hear from the experts on both sides."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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