Police charge 'Internet Black Widow' with attempted murder
Published Tuesday, October 2, 2012 11:03AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 2, 2012 10:15PM EDT
A 77-year-old woman known as the "Internet Black Widow" appeared in a Nova Scotia court on Tuesday, charged with attempted murder.
Melissa Ann Weeks, of New Glasgow, N.S., is also charged with administering a noxious substance.
Weeks was arrested after her husband unexpectedly became ill on the weekend -- just a few days after they were married. The couple was staying at an inn in Sydney, when Fred Weeks was suddenly rushed to the hospital on Sept. 30.
Police were called due to suspicion that the man's wife may have played a role, according to a release Tuesday from Cape Breton Regional Police.
"Further investigation led police to believe the man's spouse could be responsible for his illness," said the statement.
Police then obtained a warrant for Weeks' arrest, as well as a search warrant for her home in New Glasgow, N.S. She was arrested Monday morning and taken into custody, and charges were laid Tuesday morning after further investigation.
“Our investigators worked throughout the night,” Staff Sgt. Mike Kennedy told CTV Atlantic. “That included interviews, and also we executed a couple of search warrants, one being at her home in New Glasgow.”
Police would not confirm the substance that Weeks is charged with administering. However, they did say that searches of her home and car turned up large amounts of prescription drugs.
It's not the first time Weeks has run afoul of the law. She was convicted of manslaughter in relation to the death of her husband Gordon Stewart, who died in 1991. A court found she drugged him, then ran him over twice with her car near Halifax. She was handed a six-year sentence but only spent two years in prison.
Shortly after her release, Weeks met and married Robert Friedrich, a Florida man. However, his health began to falter and he died 14 months later.
Then in 2005 she was sentenced to five years in prison after a court found her guilty of seven counts of theft, related to her relationship with another man from Florida whom she met online.
Prosecutors argued that Weeks stole roughly US$20,000 from the man, Alexander Strategos. She spent five years in a Florida prison after being convicted of theft and forgery charges, and was then deported to Canada in 2009.
According to media reports, Weeks has a number of aliases, including Melissa Ann Stewart, Melissa Ann Friedrich and Millie Weeks. Her nickname stems from her habit of meeting men online, often shortly after they have been widowed.
Fred Weeks has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home in New Glasgow.
On Tuesday, the accused was ordered not to have any contact with her husband or his family. She will next appear in court on Friday for a bail hearing. The Crown prosecutor said Tuesday he will oppose her release.
“One, that there’s the likelihood that she may commit other offences, and also that we believe that she may be a flight risk,” Dan Macrury told reporters. “So based on those two issues we’re opposed to her release.”
The charges have not been proven in court.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald