‘Black Widow’ de­nied early release

Cape Breton Post - - PROVINCE -

MONC­TON, N.B. — The Pa­role Board of Canada says an el­derly woman known as the “Black Widow’’ who was con­victed of spik­ing her new­ly­wed hus­band’s cof­fee with tran­quil­iz­ers has been de­nied an early release. Melissa Ann Shep­ard, now in her early 80s, was sen­tenced in Sydney in June 2013 to two years, nine months and 10 days for ad­min­is­ter­ing a nox­ious sub­stance and fail­ing to pro­vide the ne­ces­si­ties of life to 76-year-old Fred Weeks. The board says in a re­cently re­leased de­ci­sion that Shep­ard was found to be in pos­ses­sion of six bot­tles of eye drops and al­though she has a di­ag­no­sis re­quir­ing the med­i­ca­tion, the amount that was found was ex­ces­sive and could have been used to cause harm. The agency says Shep­ard has a ten­dency to fab­ri­cate and deny events to correction­al staff, and is un­able to link con­se­quences to ac­tions. The board has de­ter­mined her risk of re­of­fend­ing in a vi­o­lent way was un­changed and or­dered that she re­main in cus­tody. Shep­ard ac­quired the moniker of the “Black Widow’’ af­ter be­ing con­victed of man­slaugh­ter in 1992 in the death of her sec­ond hus­band, Gor­don Ste­wart, whom she drugged and ran over twice with a car.

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