Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Restaurateur accused of poisoning girlfriend released from jail

October 19, 2012 |  8:35 am

A prominent restaurateur accused of poisoning his girlfriend to force a miscarriage was released from jail Thursday night after posting bail.

Joshua Woodward, 40, an investor in Los Angeles and Miami restaurants, including the old Table 8, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to multiple counts of attempted murder after prosecutors said he tried to cause his pregnant girlfriend to miscarry by poisoning her with a substance known to induce labor.

He turned himself in Wednesday morning and entered his plea at a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. He was released at 10:42 p.m. after posting bond on his $4-million bail. If convicted on the four charges of attempted murder, prosecutors say, Woodward faces a potential life term in state prison with the possibility of parole.

DOCUMENT: Allegations against Joshua Woodward

Woodward's attorney, Mark Werksman, said Wednesday that the charges turn "an unfortunate natural miscarriage of a 13-week-old fetus into a ghoulish attempted murder case."

But prosecutors say Woodward begged his girlfriend to terminate her pregnancy. And when she refused, he began to research "various drugs and other means to unlawfully cause a miscarriage," prosecutors allege.

In late August 2009, they allege, he conducted Internet searches for the phrases "ways men have forced abortions," "drugs that induce miscaraiges [sic]," and "evil ways to terminate a pregnancy."

DOCUMENT: Joshua Woodward bail motion

 Prosecutors say Woodward then began researching the drug misoprostol, which is used to induce labor as well as in early-term abortions and that he then obtained and secretly placed the drug into a drink being consumed by his girlfriend, Gail.

When that poisoning attempt did not cause her to lose the baby, prosecuters say, Woodward tried to administer the drug a second time, a week later, during sexual foreplay.

Prosecutors said Woodward then conducted Internet research on "the length of time that misoprostol would be detectable in the victim's blood," and then, on Oct. 18, 2009, returned to his girlfriend's apartment and administered the drug, causing his girlfriend to miscarry. 

Believing the attempt had failed, Woodward allegedly attempted to administer the drug again two days later, and was arrested by LAPD.


Restaurateur denies poisoning pregnant girlfriend

Orionids meteor shower begins to light up night sky

-- Wesley Lowery and Andrew Blankstein

Follow Wesley on Twitter and Google+.