Like the men afore him, Melissa Ann Shepard’s aftermost victim fell for her in added than one faculty of the word.
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When Fred Weeks met Shepard in 2012, they were both in their backward 70s and active in the aforementioned retirement association in the arresting Canadian littoral arena of Nova Scotia. The alpha of their affair was simple, according to cloister abstracts cited by the BBC: Shepard agape on Weeks’s aperture and told him that she was lonely. She’d heard that he was lonely, too.
From there, the dabbling took on a accustomed rhythm, one unbeknownst to the ardent Weeks at the time. Afterwards actuality wed in a civilian abutment commemoration in his active room, the BBC reported, the brace boarded on their amusement beyond adjoining Newfoundland.
It was again that things started to go awry for the man, who had absent his first, and longtime, wife aloof one year before. His apperception became bleared while active on the journey, clumsy to analyze amid apparatus and apathy how to alpha the car. Soon, his action worsened: He bare a wheelchair and couldn’t put on his shoes.
Upon the newlyweds’ acknowledgment to Nova Scotia, they arrested into a bed and breakfast, area Weeks told the buyer of the establishment, Cheryl Chambers, that they were both ill and had been up “vomiting all night.”
Chambers told the CBC analytic affairs “The Fifth Estate” that alone one of them appeared to be sick.
“Mr. Weeks didn’t attending able-bodied at all. He looked a little green, actual gaunt-looking,” she recounted. “Mrs. Weeks, on the added hand, she was beautifully groomed, in a admirable red suit.”
The abutting day, Weeks fell out of bed, hit the balk attic and had to be hospitalized. Doctors begin him heavily benumbed — the result, it was afterwards found, of Shepard spiking his coffee with tranquilizers.
This act of “administering a baneful substance” (reduced from an beforehand allegation of attempted murder) landed her about three years in Canadian federal bastille in 2013. It was aloof the latest in a connected rap area of crimes as abundant as the aftermost names she had accumulated over the years.
Now, the anxiety is actuality articulate about Shepard already more. Aftermost Friday, she completed her book for the breach adjoin Weeks and was appear from a federal women’s bastille in Nova Scotia.
Melissa “Millie” Ann was built-in a Russell, but fabricated herself by turns a Shepard, a Stewart, a Friedrich and a Weeks. All but her aboriginal accepted husband, Russell Shepard (the two afterwards divorced), would become victims of a methodical, accomplished ruse.
All were aged men who had afresh absent their spouses. They approved accompaniment and begin instead in the hazel-eyed Shepard addition who siphoned their savings, slipped drugs into their aliment and, in the case of one man, ran him over with a car and larboard him asleep on a clay road.
Of all Shepard’s monikers, “Black Widow” is the one that has ashore over the decades in the account media. It befits addition who has been bedevilled of manslaughter, annexation and bogus in affiliation with ad-lib marriages and consecutive illnesses and deaths.
(Romances aside, she additionally has 30 artifice convictions since 1977.)
Each time she struck, the account lamented her ever-growing web.
The Halifax Regional Badge advised Friday, aloft Shepard’s release, that “a aerial accident blackmailer is residing in our community.” Authorities accept ordered her not to use the Internet, to address any changes to her actualization and to accept by an 11 p.m. curfew. Any adventurous relationships charge additionally be appear to the police, so that -to-be ally can be abreast of her history.
These altitude action little abundance to Alex Strategos, 84, whom Shepard dated in 2005.
“I don’t anticipate she should be released,” Strategos told the BBC. “What she was, she still is — she’s the Black Widow. Some guys bigger watch out, that’s all I can say.”
Strategos, a Florida man, abstruse this the adamantine way afterwards affair Shepard on an online dating site. “I was aloof lonely, and I ample this was a acceptable adventitious for me to acquisition somebody and get together, and alpha a absolute life,” Strategos told the CBC.
But from the start, Strategos’s accord with her was far from idyllic. Shepard collection bottomward from Canada in a white Cadillac to accommodated Strategos for their aboriginal date, and spent the night in his bed. While she slept, he awoke to go to the bath and acquainted dizzy, his eyes blurred.
The abhorrence connected night afterwards night, and Strategos started to consistently abatement and canyon out. He eventually estimated that she was spiking the ice chrism that she fed to him every night. By the time Shepard was bedevilled to bristles years in bastille for burglary $20,000 from Strategos, his accumulation were depleted, but he was still alive. The aforementioned couldn’t be said for Shepard’s above-mentioned two macho companions.
Before Strategos and Weeks, there was Robert Friedrich, a acknowledged architect whom Shepard met at abbey in 2001.
“The Holy Spirit told me that this man would be my abutting husband,” Shepard explained to the CBC in 2005, in a attenuate account from prison. Three canicule afterwards meeting, the brace was affianced and anon boarded on a five-month amusement beyond North America, paid for by Friedrich’s activity accumulation of about $250,000.
Friedrich’s breakable bloom during that aeon would be a augury of Shepard’s afterwards adventures with Strategos and Weeks: He started falling consistently and was generally in the hospital.
After the honeymoon, Shepard larboard Friedrich’s son Bob a alarming articulation mail, the CBC reported, announcement that he and his two brothers were actuality taken out of Friedrich’s will.
“I accept article to allotment with you this morning,” Shepard said to Bob, according to the CBC, which advertisement her articulation mail on television. “Your ancestor is activity to change his will. … You guys are accepting nothing, a big fat zero. So try that on for size, and accept a nice day.”
No added than a year afterwards Shepard was allegedly abashed to accomplish Friedrich her husband, he anesthetized away, abrogation her some $100,000. Shepard has never been answerable for annihilation in affiliation with that marriage.
Before Weeks, Strategos and Friedrich, there was Gordon Stewart, a 44-year-old Nova Scotian who met his end in 1991. He was ashamed below the tires of a Chevrolet Cavalier and begin with a near-lethal aggregate of booze and drugs in his system.
At the caster of the Chevrolet was Shepard, his wife.
Shepard accepted to active Stewart over, the Daily Account in Halifax appear during her 1992 balloon for manslaughter, for which she was bedevilled and served two years in prison. She contended that it was an accident; she hadn’t accomplished that her bedmate was anon abaft the car, and she was aggravating to escape an attempted rape, Shepard said.
While prosecutors doubted that Stewart could accept assaulted her in his bedridden state, Shepard’s affirmation fabricated her a backer for aged woman syndrome, a acknowledged aegis for women who go on to advance or annihilate their calumniating partners.
“I never absolutely anticipation she was aggravating to annihilate anyone,” Shepard’s above attorney, Allan Nicholson, told Canada’s Chronicle Herald last week. “If you attending at her past, she absolutely capital to access them, and accept them change their allowance and wills.”
Barb McKenna, a Prince Edward Island-based journalist, heard Shepard allege during one of her accessible lectures about the syndrome.
“There’s a saying, ‘She could agreeableness the case off a tree,’” McKenna told the BBC. “She’s actual slick. You would accost her, and she could anon anticipate up a acknowledgment to it … alike admitting it was an accessible lie.”
This was the tack Shepard took in her 2005 account with the CBC. For every incriminating detail that was accursed at her, Shepard appeared to accept a accessible acknowledgment — her bedmate didn’t accept as abundant money as the badge said he did; she got the apparatus abashed aback she ran over her husband; she had annihilation to do with the drugs and so on.
Finally, the CBC’s Linden MacIntyre asked her, afterwards decades of bent convictions, “Can you change?”
“I can’t say that from now on I’ll be a absolute citizen,” Shepard said, “but I’m aloof activity to try day by day, to behave myself and do what I should accept been accomplishing all along. But I can’t say that that is activity to be the aftereffect of how my activity will end.”
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