Why, Grandma — What Copious Amounts of Tranquilizers You Have
Criminals come in all shapes and sizes, and their stories never cease to amaze us.
We all know that looks can be deceiving, but the case of habitual offender Melissa Ann Shepard is especially fascinating. Shepard, who turns 81 in May, was released from jail in March after serving three years for poisoning her most recent husband while still on their “honeymoon.”
But this isn’t the octogenarian’s first run in with the law. In fact, Shepard has been in and out of jail for nearly 40 years, and her story just keeps getting stranger. Born in Burnt Church, New Brunswick in 1935, Shepard has been convicted of numerous fraud offenses, poisoning, and manslaughter. Between 1977 and 1991 alone, she served time for over 30 convictions of fraud.
Dubbed Canada’s “Internet Black Widow” serial killer, Melissa was arrested yet again just this week, simply for accessing a computer in a local library. For this old woman, a computer can be a deadly weapon.
Here’s what you need to know.
Shepard gained major attention in 1992 after being convicted of manslaughter in the death of her second husband, Gordon Stewart, who she ran over twice with a car.
In his autopsy, high dosages of tranquilizers were found in Stewart’s body, which led investigators to believe she had drugged her husband before running him over.
In her defense, Shepard claimed that she had been raped and killed her husband while trying to escape. Sentenced to 6 years in prison, Melissa only served 2 before receiving a government grant to travel the country and give speeches on battered woman syndrome and killing in self defense.
In 2000, she married third husband Robert Friedrich after meeting on an online Christian dating site. He died under suspicious circumstances only 14 months later, and Melissa walked away tens of thousands of dollars richer.
Convinced she had killed their father, Friedrich’s sons made a criminal complaint alleging that Melissa had caused him to overdose on prescription pills while depleting his bank account. Though she was not charged for his death, the sons were awarded $15,000.