When you take a look at this little old lady, what do you see?
I see a nice looking grandmother who probably has a bowl of Werther's Original hard candy on her coffee table. She's most likely on her way back from McDonald's (where she only had coffee) and now she's heading to the corner store to buy some scratch lottery tickets.
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But that's actually pretty far from the truth.
You wouldn't know it at first glance, but this woman is Melissa Ann Shepard, better known by her nickname: The Black Widow.
And as you probably guessed by now, she got that name by allegedly murdering a few of her husbands and a boyfriend.*
Melissa Ann Shepard's first husband was Russel Shepard. Lucky for him, the marriage ended in divorce, making Russel the only husband not to become one of her victims.
In 1991, The Black Widow was married to a man named Gordon Stewart.* One day, she reportedly decided to give her husband a huge dose of tranquillizers. When he became incapacitated, she proceeded to run him over with her car... twice.
She was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in jail, but she was released early for good behaviour.
Six years later, Shepard married Robert Friedrich.* About a year later, Friedrich was dead, leaving an inheritance to his new wife. His sons were convinced that she murdered their father by giving him an overdose of prescription medication. Shepard was never charged with the crime.
Several years went by and Shepard decided she needed a change, so she moved to Florida where she met Alex Strategos. They never married but it seems that didn't stop her old patterns from creeping up.* Shortly after they met, the man started feeling ill and ended up being hospitalized up to eight times, according to reports. The man's son started to get suspicious, especially when his father's bank account reportedly appeared to be shrinking rapidly.
Hospital tests revealed the man was poisoned with tranquillizers (starting to see a pattern?), but police could not prove Shepard was the one who did the deed. She was sentenced to five years in jail for grand theft and forgery.
Later, in 2012, Shepard married Fred Weeks and the same thing happened again. Shortly after they were married, she allegedly spiked his coffee with benzos. This time, police found a literal stockpile of prescription medications from five different doctors in her home. She was charged with attempted murder and sentenced to three and a half years in jail.
In case you're wondering, Melissa Ann Shepard is alive and well. She's also free (you scared yet?).
The 81-year-old currently lives in Halifax, but she has to follow a few conditions to stay out of jail.
She must report any new relationships to the police and she must provide photos to authorities if she decides to change her appearance.
Who knew someone so adorable could be so evil.
*Editor's note: This article has been updated.