Internet Black Widow

She just looks like anyone’s sweet little grandma but underneath lies an evil woman.

The woman nicknamed the “Internet Black Widow” for her ability to persuade grieving widowers to marry her has been charged with attempted murder in Nova Scotia.

Melissa Weeks, 77, is also charged with attempting to poison her husband under Section 245 of the Criminal Code, known as “administering a noxious thing.”

She was remanded in custody in Sydney on Tuesday until a bail hearing scheduled for Friday.

Weeks, who was formerly known as Melissa Friedrich, was found guilty of killing a previous husband and has spent time in jail for stealing from a man she was living with in Florida, CBC News has confirmed.

Prosecutor Dan MacRury said the Crown will be opposing her release Friday.

“The Crown is opposed to her release because of the seriousness of the charge and also because of the criminal record of the accused in this case. We are of the view that one, there is the likelihood that she may commit other offences and also that we believe she may be a flight risk,” he said.

Weeks was arrested Monday in New Glasgow, N.S.

Her current husband, a recent widower, became violently ill just days after the couple married.

Fred Weeks, 75, was taken on Sunday to the North Sydney General Hospital, where doctors became suspicious and called police.

“Further investigation led police to believe the man’s spouse could be responsible for his illness,” Desiree Vassallo, a spokeswoman for the Cape Breton Regional Police, said in a statement Tuesday.

The man has since been released from hospital.

Long list of charges, convictions

The woman best known as Melissa Friedrich has a long history with the law. In 1991, she killed her husband — Gordon Stewart, of P.E.I. — on a deserted road near Halifax. He had been heavily drugged when she ran him over twice with a car.

She was sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter and was released after serving two.

Kate Reeves, Stewart’s sister, told CBC News on Tuesday she was not surprised to hear her former sister-in-law was in the news again.

“I’m not surprised at all that she’s done this. I was surprised that she was caught,” Reeves said in a phone interview from Freetown, P.E.I.

“She had a long list of convictions before she ever met my brother, before we ever heard tell of this woman. She had a long criminal history, a lot of charges: forgery, fraud, misrepresentation, theft. When you get a lot of charges like that, I think there are as many incidents that people don’t bring forward.”

Shortly after being released from jail, Melissa Stewart — as she was known at the time — travelled to Florida, where she met Robert Friedrich at a Christian retreat.

They married in Nova Scotia in 2000, but a year later Friedrich family noticed his health was faltering. He had mysterious fainting spells, slurred his speech, and was in and out of hospitals. They also said his money had started to disappear.

Friedrich died in 2002 of cardiac arrest. No one was charged in his death.

‘A little bit old to be playing games’

Melissa Friedrich’s next Florida love affair was with Alex Strategos, a divorced man she met on On the day they moved in together, he was taken to hospital after hitting his head.

Strategos, now 81 and living in Pinellas Park, Fla., said he wasn’t surprised to hear about the latest allegations against the woman known as the “Internet Black Widow.”

“I just think she’s a little bit old to be playing games, that’s all,” he said Tuesday.

“She’s a nice woman, she treated me all right until she started giving me drugs.”

Strategos wound up being hospitalized eight times over a two-month period. A drug was found in his system, and his bank account was emptied.

For that incident, Friedrich served five years in a Florida prison on three counts of grand theft from a person 65 years or older, two counts of forgery and two counts of using a forged document. Police said she coerced Strategos to give her power of attorney and then she siphoned off his money into her own bank account.

She was released from jail in 2009 and deported to Canada, where she settled into an apartment in New Glasgow, N.S.


Video-Black Widow taken into custody

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30 Responses to Internet Black Widow

  1. Amber from Maryland says:

    Hi Snoopy

    Good heavens!!!!
    I never thought that a septuagenarian would be committing a crime of this sort! At 71, i barely have enough energy to walk across the street. I can’t imagine being able to commit a string of crimes from Florida to Canada.

    I don’t think I could get from Mayland to Canada, let alone from Florida to Canada plus commit crimes to boot!!! I have wanted to visit Canada for some time, ever since I learned that my great great great grandmother was born there. Maybe, I should take heart and think that if someone can do all of that at 77, there is hope that I will regain some of my former health and strength and visit my ancestor’s birthplace before I die. (I won’t plan to commit any crimes though.)

    I guess young people like Felon Anthony don’t have a monopoly on evil after all.

  2. cali patti says:

    Morning, I read over on AOL news about this woman, OMG, what a evil *itch. Having a caring partner, nice secure home, etc., is what most women of her age seek and are happy with. Other than being evil I’ve not any clue as to why she would want to kill at her age. Hope Nova Scotia can keep her locked up.

  3. Amber~~that Black Widow was a holy terror. This is when I find the Canadian laws do not hand out stiffer sentences. I remember when she ran over her husband out near the Halifax airport. She claimed it was an accident. She only got 6 years and was out in two for good behavior. That made her free to drug more of her husbands and boyfriends. I am a couple years older than you and I don’t have the stamina to do what she does. It is one crazy world.

  4. cali patti~~maybe the courts will smarten up and keep her in jail under a Governor’s General warrant. She is a habitual criminal in every sense of the word. Some people are just born evil. It is hard to believe at 77 yrs old that she did not mellow out in her golden years. I did read that she is being denied bond. I understand she is Canadian but do not know what province she comes from, hopefully not Nova Scotia.

  5. (It seems someone at Dave’s blog thinks I may be the black widow…take note of the bold part and read what was said today at Dave’s…lolol)

    Alex Strategos was lonely and looking for love when he met Melissa Friedrich, the so-called “Internet Black Widow,” on an online dating service.

    They chatted, and then she came to meet him at his Florida home. They went out for dinner and she moved in right away.

    Mr. Strategos, a divorced and retired accountant from Pittsburgh, was smitten with the Canadian woman he had just met. He described her as a “very classy lady.”

    In an interview on Tuesday from Pinellas Park, Fla., the 81-year-old also said she was a “fine actress.”

    During their relationship, he signed over power of attorney to her, which enabled her to take $18,000 from him. In 2005, Ms. Friedrich pleaded guilty to charges including grand theft from a person 65 years or older, forgery and using a forged document. She served five years in a Florida jail.

    “She knew how to sweet-talk everybody,” he recalls. During their time together, he didn’t know much about her background or ask about it. Nor has he ever been to Canada.

    Read entire article here…

    How a smitten man came face to face with the ‘Internet Black Widow’

  6. The Widow’s Web
    Family members say she preyed on the lonely, then married and buried them. Now the so-called Black Widow has been charged with attempted murder after the the suspicious sudden illness of another husband. the fifth estate’s Linden MacIntyre first spoke to Melissa Friedrich when she was in jail in Florida, and then again on the phone last year after she moved back to Nova Scotia. In “The Widow’s Web,” MacIntyre tells her troubling story, with exclusive new interviews and details on the latest twists and turns in an unfolding mystery the fifth estate has been following since 2005.

    Alexander Strategos did what any lonely 73-year-old retiree in Florida looking for love would do — he logged on to a seniors’ website and made a date. The 69-year-old brunette from Canada who answered his call arrived in a new white Cadillac and quickly made herself at home in his condo. Over the next two months, police believe Melissa Ann Friedrich drugged Strategos, took control of his home, stole his life savings and was already searching for her next victim on Internet dating sites.

    the fifth estate’s Linden MacIntyre investigated Friedrich’s remarkable and complex story, including a lengthy and dramatic interview with her in prison. After police arrested Friedrich on charges of exploitation of the elderly, they learned she had at least 13 aliases and at least 30 prior convictions for various kinds of fraud dating back to 1970. They also learned that she was convicted of manslaughter in 1992 after running over, not once but twice, her 44-year-old husband on a dirt road near the Halifax airport. Another husband died in 2002, and while Friedrich was not charged, to this day family members suspect her in his death. And in March 2005, Friedrich was convicted on seven charges of theft and forgery. She was released from prison in Florida in 2009, and until this week’s news, had apparently been living a quiet life for three years.


  7. Here are a few pics of the Black Widow over the years…

  8. If the following is true, it makes the black widow 74 and not 77…

    (May 16, 1938:
    Melissa Russell is born in Burnt Church, N.B)

    This is a summary along with pictures of the Black Widow… she was one busy gal.. We had the Casey Anthony type here in Canada . Here is an excerpt of her lies…

    Known as Melissa Stewart at the time, she fed her husband a lethal dose of liquor, pills and rubbing alcohol. Then she ran him over with her car on a deserted road near the Halifax International Airport.

    She was convicted the next year of the lesser charge of manslaughter, claiming her husband was an abusive alcoholic. The case propelled her into the spotlight as a spokesperson for victims of domestic violence.

    In an interview in a 1994 documentary about abused women, Melissa said: “I put the car in gear and I didn’t realize, but I put it in reverse instead of forward and I backed the car over him.

    Read it all here…

    Melissa Friedrich: Internet Black Widow
    CBC News Online | March 14, 2005

  9. Okay, this may be part of the confusion of how old this black widow really is… I found this at the link that I just posted…heck, Melissa beats out Casey for lying…

    Investigators in Florida discovered a wide web of stories as they looked for answers. Melissa had 13 aliases, several different birth dates, and at least two social insurance numbers

    Oh my goodness, there is more…

    Feb. 1, 2005:
    RCMP in Nova Scotia issue a warrant for Melissa’s arrest. She’s charged with defrauding the government of Canada of $30,348.54 over a four-year period. She’s accused of using two different social insurance numbers and two names (Melissa Shephard and Melissa Stewart) to get extra old-age security payments between July 1997 and October 2003.

  10. WOW! She’s evil to the core isn’t she? Geez what a whackjob. I really hope they don’t let her out. She will jump bail for sure.

  11. Mystical~~she is still legally married to the man she just tried to drug. I expect she will divorce him and try to hook up with one of the male guards in prison and then poison him, steal his jail keys and escape.

  12. LOL…..maybe they should make sure that she has ALL female guards…lol

  13. Mystical~~She can marry a female guard. It is legal here. lol

  14. Big lol…..thats funny and you’re right she probably doesn’t “gender” discriminate as long as they have big bank accounts!

  15. LindaNewYork says:

    It really is amazing that she’s been convicted and released back into society so many times!

  16. LindaNY~~our Canadian laws are much too lenient. The Black Widow even spent time in Florida jail. I think she has Casey beat in the lying department.

  17. I think George Zimmerman has Casey beat in the lying department! lol 🙂

  18. A man who wed a woman dubbed the “Black Widow” for her criminal record linked to previous relationships says he is not legally married to her, two weeks after she was charged with trying to kill him.

    Fred Weeks said in an interview that Nova Scotia’s Vital Statistics division sent him a letter indicating it would not register his marriage to 77-year-old Melissa Ann Weeks because false information had been provided on the marriage document.

    “I’m not married to her,” Weeks, 75, told The Canadian Press from his home in New Glasgow, N.S.

    “[Weeks] is not her name.”

    Weeks made the comments after being released from hospital in Sydney, N.S. Police allege Melissa Weeks gave her new husband a noxious substance, listed in court documents as the tranquilizer benzodiazepine.

    She was charged on Oct. 2 with attempted murder and administering the drug. She is due in Sydney provincial court next week for a bail hearing. None of the charges has been proven in court.

    Fred Weeks said he has little recollection of what took place in between the time the pair married on Sept. 25 and when he returned home from hospital early the following week.

    “I was heavily sedated by whomever, I don’t know. I’m not accusing anyone,” he said, adding that his memories come and go, and that he has trouble recalling dates, daily chores and events.

    “I don’t remember anything at all about waking up in Sydney.… My memory is coming back piece by piece.”

    Weeks didn’t want to discuss the allegations against Melissa Weeks or how he feels about their relationship.

    The father of six adult children said he has started a journal and police have told him to contact them if anything related to the case comes back to him.

    “But I haven’t been able to remember anything,” he said.

    Man who wed Black Widow says marriage unregistered

  19. Internet Black Widow bail hearing postponed for 3rd time

    Weeks will be back in court for a bail hearing on Oct. 26.

  20. There are many black widows out there…here is another one…

    Mrs. Gates’ first husband, David Plue, was found dead on a rural highway in Indiana in 1978 with two bullets in his head, Clevenger said.

    Clevenger, then a sheriff’s investigator, said the 29-year-old autoworker had a $100,000 life insurance policy, and his wife collected the money.

    Read more here…

    Anne Gates, Louisiana Black Widow with an Original Legal Strategy – 1987

  21. Vicky says:

    Snoopy, Woe, she pleads no contest. Is sentenced to only ten years for a brutal killing of her estranged husband, and then because she didn’t actually admit guilt, she was allowed to inherit part of his estate!
    Her first husband, was found shot to death, so she got his life insurance before she was suspected of any wrong doing. I wonder if the State of Indiana ever charged her with Plue’s murder. I googled both names, but only found reference to the second murder.
    Investigation Discovery recreates these Black Widow stories quite often. Do you ever watch that show or is it not aired in Canada?

  22. Vicky says:

    By the way, that is an interesting site you linked. It’s sad to think she is a free woman now and poor David Plue’s death was never officially resolved. I wonder if she ever remarried. I kind of doubt she would be considered a prize catch. But, who knows.

  23. Vicky~~I think I was in the wrong profession. To think that being an accountant, I got to calculate other peoples money. I should have hooked up with a few rich dudes, married and gave them breakfast in bed. It is easy to disguise a little arsenic in scrambled eggs. Yes, we have Investigative Reports here but I seldom watch it now. I never realized just how many black widows are out there. Some knocked off more than one hubby. The state of Indiana must be some lax in dishing out sentences.

  24. Vicky says:

    Snoopy, I think they’re pretty tough on crime there. Seems they just didn’t have the evidence to charge her. I read a few news articles. They never found the weapon. She used two different methods, and apparently didn’t leave a cigarette butt at the scene of Plue’s murder.

    I was amazed when I saw the length of the list on that website.

  25. Apparently David Plue was only 29 years old. When you think of women knocking off their husbands for money, you think of old men and young women.

  26. Here is some more on our Internet Black Widow. Her lawyer was on tv and said she is a delightful lady. lol I think the old fart fell for her too.

    ‘Internet Black Widow’ waives preliminary trial

  27. cali patti says:

    I believe Lifetime did make a movie about her and she was connecting with a man while she is in prison/jail.

  28. Melissa Friedrich is following a long-establish tradition. “Exciting Careers in Serial Widowhood” outlines this overlooked history.

  29. cathy porter says:

    Melissa Friedrich ,Stewart, etc and Fred Weeks did not get married ,does anyone know where the Shepherd came from?

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