Monday, November 20, 2017
News Roundup

Feds won't challenge bail for Tampa man in abortion pill case

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TAMPA — The Tampa man accused of slipping his former girlfriend an abortion pill in March will soon be out on bail.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa said it would no longer fight a federal judge's decision to allow John Andrew Welden, 28, bail. The judge had decided in late June that Welden could be released from jail before his trial as long as he remains in his parents' Odessa house and has round-the-clock surveillance by two private security officers.

"We're pleased with the government's decision," said Todd Foster, Welden's attorney. "We will work with the court to comply with all conditions that have previously been set."

Welden, the son of a Lutz gynecologist, is charged with killing an unborn child and tampering with a consumer product. He faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment if convicted on the charge of killing a child in utero.

Prosecutors say Welden forged his father's signature to obtain the abortion drug Cytotec, relabeled it as an antibiotic and tricked former girlfriend Remee Jo Lee, 27, into taking it.

Before he gave her the drug, Lee had undergone an ultrasound confirming her pregnancy at the office Dr. Stephen Welden, according to prosecutors.

In March, she miscarried a fetus of nearly 7 weeks. She said she had planned to name the child Memphis Remington.

Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli initially denied bail to Welden, saying he was a flight risk. But his lawyers fought it.

Foster said he hoped to have Welden out soon. But given the holiday week and logistics related to the house and the security company, it could be as late as next week.

Asked how his client was faring, Foster said: "He's adjusting. He's bothered by all this expense his parents are incurring."

His parents, Stephen Welden, a prominent Lutz fertility doctor, and stepmother Lenora Welden were required to sign a $250,000 bond secured by their house. They also will pay for the two required security officers, which can cost from $50 to $70 per hour.

Welden has been held by the U.S. Marshals Service in the Pinellas County Jail since May 15.

Times staff writer Sue Carlton and news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

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