In 1988, Melissa meets Gordon Stewart, a widower, who is selling some property on PEI. They begin a romantic relationship even though she is still married to her first husband, Russell Shephard, a factory worker with whom she has two children.
On April 27, 1991, Melissa runs over and kills her husband, Gordon Stewart, on a deserted road. Three hours later she reports his death. Non-prescribed benzodiazepine (valium and restoril) is found in his system. It's judged to be enough to kill him. She claims he sexually assaulted her. Medical tests do not confirm any rape.
After the death of Gordon Stewart, Melissa Stewart claims she is a battered woman.
In 1992, Melissa is convicted of manslaughter and is sentenced to six years in jail.
While in prison, she forms a support group for women at the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario. She is later featured in a 2004 National Film Board documentary titled, "When Women Kill."
In April 2000, Melissa sees Robert Friedrich at a Christian Retreat and later sends him a letter saying "God wants us to be married." The correspondence includes her picture. Three days after their first meeting, the couple are engaged.
Less than two years after they marry, Robert Friedrich dies. The apparent cause is cardiac arrest. Friedrich's death certificate is confirmed by a doctor over the telephone. The doctor does not examine the body. Melissa continues to receive Robert Friedrich's social security cheques. Two days after his death, a cremation certificate is issued and no autopsy or toxicology reports are done.
In 2004, Melissa has dinner with Alex Strategos in Pinellas Park, Florida and moves into his house the same evening. Later that night, Alex is taken to hospital after falling down and hitting his head. Over a two-month period, Alex is hospitalized eight times.
While Alex is in the hospital, he signs over power of attorney to Melissa.
Alex's son Dean sees unprescribed drugs (benzodiazepine) in his father's medical report and blood tests. He also discovers around $18,000 missing from his father's bank account.
On January 6, 2005, a warrant is issued for Melissa's arrest. On March 14, Melissa Friedrich pleads guilty to seven charges related to the Strategos case, including three counts of grand theft from a person 65 years or older, two counts of forgery and two counts of using a forged document. As part of a plea agreement, she's sentenced to five years in jail.
On April 4, 2009, Melissa is released from prison in Florida and deported to Canada.
In 2012, Melissa meets and marries recent widower Fred Weeks, and he falls ill during their honeymoon. Police become suspicious and on October 2, 2012, Melissa is charged with attempted murder in Sydney, Nova Scotia.