TAMPA BAY - John Welden pleaded guilty Monday to tricking his pregnant ex-girlfriend into taking a pill he believed would cause her to have a miscarriage.
A federal judge scheduled Welden, 28, for sentencing on Dec. 5 on charges of tampering with a consumer product and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and three years of supervised release.
Welden was charged with the death of Remee Jo Lee's unborn child, after he gave her medicine that she thought was supposed to help the pregnancy. Instead, Lee suffered serious pain and bleeding and eventually lost the baby.
Attorney Joe Episcopo, legal analyst for abcactionnews.com, said Welden made a wise choice by avoiding a trial because winning over a jury would be next to impossible.
"It's risky. It doesn't have any jury appeal," Episcopo said. "The jury's not going to like the defendant. They're not going to like what happened. And he's risking life in prison if he gets convicted."
Instead, Welden pleaded guilty to product tampering and mail fraud, and accept a sentence amounting to more than 13 years. Assuming the judge accepts the deal, the case will be closed.
"The federal judge will probably approve it if the victim does not complain," Episcopo said.
In May, Lee spoke exclusively with ABC Action News and said the whole incident seemed surreal.
"I can't believe that someone did something so malicious to me, and not only to me, but to himself. That was our baby," Lee said.
"This was my everything. This was the thing that I was the most excited about. Every woman dreams of becoming a mom," said Lee. "I'm happy to see other women who are pregnant, but I wish it was me still."
Judge Richard Lazarra will take into consideration the two guilty pleas, the cooperation of the defendant during the trial and maker his final sentencing decision by December 5th.
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