Tampa, FL -- A federal judge sided with prosecutors Friday, finding the abortion pill that John Welden slipped his ex-girlfriend is what probably caused her to lose their pregnancy.
The decision from the evidentiary hearing will almost certainly mean a longer sentence for Welden.
John Welden left Tampa's federal courthouse unwilling to stop for comment or express remorse. But in less than three weeks, he'll be back before the same judge for sentencing under a plea agreement that would send him to prison for more than 13 years.
"But the judge isn't necessarily bound by that. So he can consider other facts and circumstances and decide something other than what the parties recommend," said Welden's attorney Todd Foster.
Welden's relatives left the courthouse stunned.
"Our experts were world-renowned," they said.
But testimony from their expert witnesses was all but rejected by Judge Richard Lazarra, who said "there is just no credible evidence" to support the assertion that anything other than a single dose of the abortion pill Misoprostal caused the victim, Remee Jo Lee, to have a miscarriage.
The drug, said Judge Lazzara, was the "... only reasonable, rational explanation."
Lee was not present for Friday's hearing. Her parents left the courthouse unwilling to speak on her behalf.
Prosecutors say Welden, Lee's ex-boyfriend, tricked her into taking the abortion pill to end their pregnancy by using a forged prescription taken from his father's office.
Dr. Stephen Welden, a well-known Gynocologist in Lutz, walked from the courthouse in quiet shock.
He'd spend the next two weeks, he said, telling John Welden what a father "normally would tell his son. That he loves him. You want a future for him and I'm still praying for a miracle," said Dr. Welden.
Under federal guidelines Welden faces up to 14 years in prison.
The plea agreement called for slightly less than that in exchange for prosecutors dropping murder charges.
The ultimate decision rests with Judge Lazarra who has set sentencing for Jan. 27.
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