'Black Widow' pleads guilty to drugging husband days after wedding

SYDNEY, N.S. – Melissa Ann Shepard, a 78-year-old woman dubbed the “Black Widow,” has pleaded guilty to administering a noxious thing and failing to provide the necessities of life for drugging a man she had married days earlier.

Shepard entered the plea today in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Sydney just as her judge-only trial was supposed to get underway.

She was charged last October after Fred Weeks fell ill at a bed and breakfast in Cape Breton and was admitted to hospital, four days after they married.

The Crown read an agreed statement of facts in court, saying Shepard gave the 75-year-old Weeks benzodiazepine, a tranquilizer, in his drinks while they were on a honeymoon trip in Newfoundland.

An attempted murder charge was dropped.

Shepard acquired the “Black Widow” moniker due to her past criminal record, which includes manslaughter and theft, linked to relationships with other men she met in Canada and the United States.

Her marriage to Weeks was later ruled invalid by the province’s Vital Statistics division after it said false information was provided on the marriage certificate.