Nova Scotia

Internet Black Widow release prompts high-risk offender notification

Halifax police said Melissa Ann Shepard has a high risk to reoffend

Melissa Ann Shepard

Melissa Ann Shepard has been ordered to report to police any changes in her appearance. (Halifax Regional Police)



Halifax police have issued a high-risk offender notification to residents that the elderly woman known as the Internet Black Widow has been released from prison and will be living in the area.

Melissa Ann Shepard, now in her early 80s, was sentenced in June 2013 to two years, nine months and 10 days in jail for spiking her newlywed husband's coffee with tranquilizers.

She was released Friday in Truro, N.S., after serving her full sentence for administering a noxious substance. She was denied parole last fall by a two-person National Parole Board panel.

Halifax police said Shepard has been assessed as being a high risk to re-offend.

She was released with a number of strict conditions, including an 11 p.m. until 6 a.m curfew. She must also report any changes in her appearance and she cannot access the internet. Shepard is also required to report any romantic relationship to police so they can inform them of her past history.

Shepard's history dates back two decades.

She was previously convicted of manslaughter in the 1991 death of her second husband. Then, in 2005, she did time in Florida for stealing from Alex Strategos, a man she'd met online.

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