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Former restaurateur Joshua Woodward has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly inducing his girlfriend to miscarry.
The 40-year-old Woodward, who formerly owned upscale restaurants in Los Angeles and Miami, allegedly tried to kill the unborn baby four times in September and October 2009, reports The Associated Press.
Prosecutors say that Woodward used the drug misoprostol on his then-girlfriend. The drug has been known to terminate early-stage pregnancies. If convicted of the attempted murder charges, Woodward could face life imprisonment.
Woodward's unidentified girlfriend would go on to miscarry at 13 weeks. After the miscarriage, she became suspicious that Woodward had somehow caused her to miscarry and called police saying that Woodward had rubbed a white powder on her before she lost the baby, reports the AP.
At the time, Woodward was arrested, but police released him with no charges. It's not clear what happened in the intervening years for prosecutors to finally file charges this week. Woodward turned himself into authorities.
Woodward faces four counts of attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty to all four charges. Woodward's attorney calls the case against his client "weak and speculative" and said that prosecutors were trying to characterize a naturally occurring event (miscarriage) into something "ghoulish," writes the AP.
If Woodward's alleged acts did lead to the death of the unborn baby, it's unclear why prosecutors only charged him with attempted murder as opposed to murder. Regardless of their reason, prosecutors may face an uphill battle in tying Woodward to the death.
Not only did the alleged crime happen three years ago, but prosecutors have to somehow tie Woodward to the drug misoprostol and prove that he rubbed his girlfriend's belly with the purpose of killing the unborn child. The fact that prosecutors decided to file charges at all may signal that they discovered some "smoking gun" piece of evidence.