80-Year-Old 'Internet Black Widow' Violates Parole

| by Zara Zhi
Melissa Ann ShepardMelissa Ann Shepard

An elderly Canadian woman, dubbed the "Internet Black Widow," has been charged with violating her parole less than a month after her release.

Melissa Ann Shepard, 80, is accused of breaching conditions set by Canada's Nova Scotia provincial court in March by accessing the Internet at a library in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Authorities say that on April 11 at 3:40 p.m. a community response officer saw Shepard using the Internet on a computer and arrested her, reports CBC News. She was taken to the police station where police found she had a “device capable of accessing the Internet,” in breach of her parole conditions. Shepard agreed to 22 provisional conditions when she was released. She plans to contest longer-term limitations in court later in 2016.

Her current restrictions include no access to the Internet, abiding by a curfew, providing a current photo of herself to authorities and no non-prescribed drug possessions. Shepard must also inform police of any romantic relationships she’s in so officers can warn prospective boyfriends of her criminal history.

Shepard was charged with three counts of breaching a recognizance and released on conditions that bar her from visiting any libraries in the Halifax Regional Municipality. She is due back in court May 24.

She was freed from prison in March after serving her full sentence for dispensing a poisonous substance and failing to provide life support to her new husband, Fred Weeks. In September 2012, just days after their wedding, Weeks developed an illness while staying at a bed-and-breakfast in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, according to CBC.

In 1991, Shepard was convicted of manslaughter after killing her husband, Gordon Stewart, on a deserted road near Halifax, and served two years of a six-year prison sentence. He was heavily drugged when she ran him over twice with a car.

Not long after her release, Shepard journeyed to Florida and met Robert Friedrich at a Christian retreat. In 2000, the two married in Nova Scotia. A year later, Friedrich fell ill and went in and out of hospitals for inexplicable fainting spells and incoherent speech. Friedrich’s family say his money started to vanish. He died in 2002 of cardiac arrest, but no one was arrested for his death.

In 2005, Shepard was convicted of various charges connected to a relationship with another Florida man she met online and sentenced to five years in prison.

Sources: CBC News (2) / Photo credit: Halifax Regional Police via CBC News

Should Shepard be imprisoned again for violating her parole?
Yes - 0%
Yes - 0%