Melissa Ann Shepard : Internet Black Widow (2012) – the fifth estate


[♪♪]>>Linden: THEY THOUGHT SHE HAD ETERNAL YOUTH. >>YEAH, WE SLEPT TOGETHER THE FIRST NIGHT, BUT I ONLY HAD ONE BEDROOM. AND I TOLD HER THAT AHEAD OF TIME. AND IT DIDN’T BOTHER HER SO …>>Linden: AGE DIDN’T SEEM TO MATTER. MEN JUST FELL FOR HER.>>OVER THE PATTERN OF THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS OR SO WHENEVER WE BEGAN TO HEAR ABOUT FALLING QUITE A BIT, AND THEN WHENEVER WE TALKED TO HIM ON THE TELEPHONE HE’D BE SLURRING HIS WORDS. >>Linden: AND NOW ANOTHER SENIOR. HEAD OVER HEELS FOR MELISSA.>>MR. WEEKS DIDN’T LOOK WELL AT ALL. HE LOOKED A LITTLE GREEN OR GAUNT >>Linden: SHE MIGHT HAVE HAD ETERNAL YOUTH, BUT MELISSA ALSO HAD A HISTORY.>>I DO FEEL THAT, UM, I’M BEING RAILROADED, AND IT’S – – A LOT OF IT IS BASED ON PAST RECORD.>>Linden: IT ISN’T FLORIDA, BUT IT MUST HAVE BEEN A LOVELY CHANGE OF PACE WHEN SHE CAME HOME TO NEW GLASGOW, NOVA SCOTIA, AFTER FOUR YEARS IN A JAILHOUSE. AN INVOLUNTARY GUEST OF THE SUNSHINE STATE. WHEN I LAST SPOKE TO MELISSA, LATE LAST YEAR, SHE WAS RESIGNED TO HER TWILIGHT YEARS. CONTENTED AS FAR AS I COULD TELL TO SPENDING THEM IN QUIET SECLUSION BACK HOME IN THE MARITIMES WHERE SHE STARTED OUT ON WHAT, IN FAIRNESS, HAD BEEN A HARD LIFE. NOW WITH THE HARD KNOCKS OF LIFE BEHIND HER, LESSONS LEARNED, DETERMINED TO KEEP A PROMISE THAT SHE MADE TO ME SEVEN YEARS AGO.>>I CAN’T SAY THAT FROM NOW ON I’LL BE A PERFECT CITIZEN, BUT I’M JUST GOING TO TRY, DAY BY DAY, TO BEHAVE MYSELF AND TO DO WHAT I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING ALL ALONG.>>Linden: IT WILL BE UP TO THE COURTS TO DECIDE TO WHAT DEGREE SHE KEPT HER UNDERTAKING OR WHETHER SHE SLIPPED BACK INTO WHAT BECAME A PATTERN THAT SADLY, FOR HER, DEFINED HER IN THE MINDS OF MOST CANADIANS AS THE BLACK WIDOW. THE LATEST CHAPTER IN HER LIFE BEGINS HERE, NEW GLASGOW, AS MOST OF HER ADVENTURES STARTED, WITH A MARRIAGE CEREMONY. THE GROOM WAS A FRISKY 75 JUSTICE OF THE PEACE, GEORGE MEGENEY.>>I CONGRATULATED THEM BOTH AND, YOU KNOW, FRED THANKED ME VERY PROFUSELY AT THE CEREMONY AND, YEAH, THEY WERE HAPPY AT THAT TIME. OR AT LEAST FRED WAS. AND MILLIE APPEARED TO BE.>>Linden: BUT THE HONEYMOON HAD ONLY JUST BEGUN WHEN THE MAN WHO TIED THE KNOT FOR THEM HAD SERIOUS MISGIVINGS.>>I GOT A CALL FROM A LADY WHO ASKED ME IF I KNEW WHO MILLIE WAS. AND I SAID, YES, I DO. CERTAINLY, YOU KNOW, AND I SAID, MILLIE ANNE RUSSELL. AND SHE ASKED ME IF I’D EVER SEEN A PROGRAM ON TELEVISION ON THE “FIFTH ESTATE” CALLED THE BLACK WIDOW.>>Linden: HE CALLED THE COPS BUT THERE WAS NOTHING THEY COULD DO, SO HE TRIED TO FIND HIS OLD FRIEND TO WARN HIM. THE NEWLYWEDS BY THEN WERE IN A GUEST HOUSE ABOUT THREE HOURS AWAY. GUEST HOME OPERATOR CHERYL CHAMBERS. >>MR. WEEKS DIDN’T LOOK WELL AT ALL. HE LOOKED A LITTLE GREEN OR GAUNT BUT MRS. WEEKS ON THE OTHER HAND LOOKED, SHE WAS BEAUTIFULLY GROOMED IN A LOVELY RED SUIT AND SHE DIDN’T LOOK LIKE SOMEONE WHO WAS SICK ALL NIGHT, BUT …>>Linden: SHERYL DIDN’T KNOW IT, BUT HER LITTLE B & B WOULD SOON BE A SUSPECTED CRIME SCENE, AND MRS. WEEKS A SUSPECT FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER. THAT SCENARIO IN NOVA SCOTIA WOULD RESINATE IN FLORIDA WITH ALEX STRATEGOS. IN 2003 HE WAS LOOKING FOR COMPANIONSHIP. AND HE FOUND MELISSA ON THE INTERNET. SHE WAS 69 AND SINGLE AND SOON SHE WAS WRITING BACK. ANXIOUS TO CONNECT. HE WAS THRILLED WHEN SHE TOLD HIM SHE PLANNED TO BE IN HIS NEIGHBOURHOOD.>>I WAS JUST LONELY. AND I FIGURED THIS WAS A GOOD CHANCE FOR ME TO FIND SOMEBODY AND GET TOGETHER AND, UH, START A DIFFERENT LIFE.>>Linden: THE PERFECT SCENARIO, AND IT GOT BETTER. MELISSA SAID SHE WAS DRIVING DOWN FROM CANADA. AND TRUE TO HER WORD, SHE ARRIVED FOR THEIR FIRST DATE IN A WHITE CADILLAC.>>I SAID WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO STAY, SHE SAYS I DON’T HAVE ANY PLACE TO STAY. I SAID WHY DON’T YOU STAY WITH ME, AND SHE SAYS OKAY.>>Linden: A ROMANTIC DINNER, SOME INTRODUCTORY CHITCHAT. THEN THEY WENT BACK TO HIS PLACE. JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES.>>YEAH, WE SLEPT TOGETHER THE FIRST NIGHT. I ONLY HAVE ONE BEDROOM. SO – -AND I TOLD HER THAT AHEAD OF TIME, AND IT DIDN’T BOTHER HER, SO I SAID WHY NOT.>>911, WHAT IS YOUR EMERGENCY?>>Linden: SOMETIME DURING THAT NIGHT, ALEX GOT UP TO USE THE BATHROOM. BUT SOMETHING DIDN’T SEEM RIGHT. WHETHER FROM EXCITEMENT OR SOMETHING HE ATE, HIS VISION BLURRED, AND HE PASSED OUT.>>[BACKGROUND VOICE SPEAKING]: MY HUSBAND IS ON THE FLOOR AND HE CAN’T GET UP. Linden: HE’D BEEN MARRIED A COUPLE OF TIMES AND HE WORKED FOR YEARS IN BUSINESS. BUT THIS WAS A NEW EXPERIENCE. IN THE DAYS TO COME HE’D GET USED TO IT. ALEX STRATEGOS WAS IN HIS 70S. HE HAD DIABETES AND VARIOUS OTHER PHYSICAL AILMENTS. HE WASN’T EXACTLY PHYSICALLY FIT. SO IT WAS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT EXCITEMENT AND THE DEMANDS OF A NEW GIRLFRIEND EXPLAINED THE DETERIORATION IN HIS HEALTH. BUT HIS SON DEAN WAS WORRIED. SOMETHING ABOUT THIS SUDDEN COLLAPSE WASN’T QUITE RIGHT.>>THE NIGHT THAT SHE GOT HERE I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, YOU KNOW, WELL THEY MUST HAVE REALLY WHOOPED IT UP LAST NIGHT. UM, AND THEN WHEN HE WAS IN THE HOSPITAL HE STARTED FEELING BETTER, AND IT WAS TIME FOR HIM TO GO HOME. BUT THEN IT STARTED HAPPENING AGAIN. AS SOON AS HE GOT HOME HE WOULD GET REAL FEEBLE. REAL SICKLY. AND HE WAS BACK IN THE HOSPITAL FALLING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. HURTING HIS HEAD. IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS HAPPENING TO HIM THAT WASN’T NATURAL.>>Linden: IT WOULD TAKE HIM A COUPLE OF MONTHS TO DISCOVER THAT MELISSA HAD A HISTORY THAT WASN’T QUITE NATURAL. AND THAT THREE YEARS EARLIER ANOTHER FAMILY IN ANOTHER PART OF THE U.S. WERE GOING THROUGH A SIMILAR CRISIS. AN ELDERLY PARENT FALLING FOR MELISSA, LITERALLY. ROBERT FRIEDRICH HAD BEEN A SUCCESSFUL ENGINEER. AN INVENTOR. AND THEN A BLISSFUL MARRIAGE ENDED IN 1990 WITH THE DEATH OF A BELOVED WIFE. SOON AFTERWARDS, IN PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES, HE MET MELISSA. HE HAD FAMILY LIVING IN BOSTON. HIS SON DENNIS AND DAUGHTER-IN-LAW KAREN. THEY WERE CAUTIOUSLY SUPPORTIVE AT FIRST.>>HE FELT THAT HE WAS GOING TO BE TAKEN CARE OF. THAT HE WAS HAPPY. THAT HE NOW HAD A BRIDE. THAT HE WAS GOING TO NOT BE ALONE ANYMORE. SOMEONE TO COOK FOR HIM. SOMEONE TO TAKE CARE OF HIM. SOMEONE TO BE WITH, TO TALK TO, UM – – AND THESE ARE THINGS THAT HE HAD BEEN MISSING DESPERATELY FOR THE PAST YEAR.>>HE WAS JUST LIKE A TEENAGER WHO FOUND HIS FIRST LOVE, ALMOST. HE WAS JUST, I THINK HE WAS SO FLATTERED BY HER. I REALLY DO.>>Linden: IN YOUR DARKEST MOMENTS WHAT WAS THE WORST CASE SCENARIO?>>COMING OUT OF THE BLUE AND TARGETING HIM LIKE THAT. I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT PERHAPS, THAT SHE MIGHT BE A GOLD DIGGER.>>Linden: IN TIME THEY’D WISH IT WAS SO SIMPLE. GOLD DIGGER. THEIR FATHER’S BRIDE HAD A SORDID HISTORY AS GRAVE DIGGER. SHE’D BEEN MARRIED AND LIVING IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS. SHE WAS KNOWN AS A SMALL TOWN LADY WITH BIG CITY PRETENSIONS. THEN SHE MET GORDON STEWART IN 1989. HE WAS 42. JUST OUT OF THE ARMY. AND HE WAS LONELY. HIS WIFE HAD DIED OF CANCER IN 1986 AND HE WAS STILL GRIEVING. SHE DIED SHORTLY AFTER THIS PHOTOGRAPH, TAKEN ON THEIR ANNIVERSARY. HE HAD ABOUT $50,000 IN THE BANK AND A PENSION. HE WAS A SITTING DUCK.>>HE WAS GRIEVING. HE WAS LONELY, AND HE WAS LOOKING FOR COMPANIONSHIP. SHE COMES ALONG. SHE CLAIMS TO BE A DEVOUT CHRISTIAN. AND SHE DONE EVERYTHING TO GET HIS CONFIDENCE.>>Linden: IT’S HARD TO KEEP SECRETS IN RURAL P.E.I. WHILE GORDON’S BROTHER, BRIAN, AND HIS SISTER KATE REEVES WERE INITIALLY OPTIMISTIC, THEY WERE SOON HEARING STRANGE STORIES ABOUT MELISSA.>>I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL IF HE MET SOMEONE, AND THE SOONER THE BETTER. BUT THAT FEELING LASTED A VERY SHORT TIME. WE HAD HEARD THAT SHE HAD BEEN IN A LOT OF TROUBLE WITH THE LAW, AND ACTUALLY A MEMBER OF THE POLICE FORCE TOLD MY HUSBAND, TELL GORDIE TO GET AWAY FROM HER. SHE’S TROUBLE.>>Linden: CALL IT TROUBLE WITH A CAPITAL “T”. SHE HAD A CRIMINAL RECORD AS LONG AS YOUR ARM. MORE THAN 30 CONVICTIONS FOR VARIOUS KINDS OF FRAUD UNDER 4 DIFFERENT NAMES. GOING ALL THE WAY BACK TO 1970 IN TORONTO. SHE’D SERVED MORE THAN FIVE YEARS IN JAIL. MELISSA JUST COULDN’T KEEP HER HANDS OFF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, AND SHE WASN’T ABOUT TO CHANGE HER WAYS. BUT GORDIE DIDN’T SEEM TO CARE ABOUT ANY OF THAT. SHE WAS STILL MARRIED TO HER FIRST HUSBAND, BUT SHE MARRIED GORDON ANYWAY IN LAS VEGAS. THEY LIVED IN CHARLOTTETOWN, BUT THE HONEYMOON WAS BRIEF. GORDON SUDDENLY HAD BIG MONEY PROBLEMS. A DRINKING HABIT SEEMED TO GET WORSE. PASSING OUT, LANDING IN THE HOSPITAL OR JAIL. ALONG WITH THE ALCOHOL, DOCTORS WERE FINDING DRUGS IN HIS SYSTEM.>>HE JUST WASN’T HIMSELF ANYMORE. HE WAS LOSING WEIGHT FAST AND THE BANK ACCOUNT WAS BEING DRAINED. AND WE KNEW HIS ASSETS WERE BEING TAKEN AWAY. WE JUST KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG. WE KNEW SHE HAD ACCESS TO PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND WE JUST KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING GOING ON.>>Linden: HALIFAX IN THE EARLY SPRING OF 1991. GORDON AGREED THAT A CHANGE OF SCENE MIGHT HELP THEIR TROUBLED RELATIONSHIP. AND THEY RELOCATED TO AN APARTMENT BUILDING IN DARTMOUTH. THEY WERE ONLY THERE A WEEK WHEN THEY SET OUT ON A SUNDAY DRIVE THAT ENDED HERE. GORDON, ACCORDING TO LATER ACCOUNTS, WAS ALMOST COMATOSE FROM DRUGS AND ALCOHOL. A LETHAL DOSE ACCORDING TO TOXICOLOGY REPORTS. BUT HE WAS SUPPOSEDLY STILL ABLE TO ATTACK MELISSA. AND WHEN SHE SAW A CHANCE TO ESCAPE, SHE RAN HIM DOWN WITH THEIR CAR. HOURS LATER SHE SHOWED UP AT A MOUNTED POLICE DETACHMENT TO REPORT THAT SHE’D BEEN RAPED. AND, OH YES, SHE’D ACCIDENTALLY KILLED THE RAPIST.>>IT WOULD AROUSE ANYONE’S SUSPICION TO HEAR THAT KIND OF STORY. IT JUST DIDN’T SEEM TO FIT THE SCENARIO OF THE SITUATION. IF YOU ACCIDENTALLY RAN OVER YOUR HUSBAND, WHY WOULD YOU NOT REMAIN AND EXPLAIN THE CIRCUMSTANCES TO WHOM EVER? WHETHER IT’S THE POLICE OR A WITNESS OR WHAT.>>Linden: JERRY SWAIN WAS THE RCMP INVESTIGATOR IN 1991.>>AS A RESULT OF THE FULL INVESTIGATION, WE DETERMINED THAT THE MOTIVE WAS MONETARY. THAT MONEY WAS INVOLVED. GORDON STEWART HAD A PENSION FROM THE DND, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE. BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN A REGULAR MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES. AND AS HIS WIFE, SHE WAS ENTITLED TO BENEFITS.>>Linden: MELISSA WAS IN SERIOUS TROUBLE WHEN SHE LANDED IN FRONT OF A JUDGE AND JURY HERE IN HALIFAX ON A CHARGE OF MURDER. TWO PEOPLE HAD SEEN HER KILL GORDON STEWART AND THEN FLEE THE SCENE. THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE TO JUSTIFY THE VIOLENCE THAT SHE USED AGAINST A MAN WHO WAS ALREADY HALF DEAD FROM ALCOHOL AND DRUGS. AND STILL SHE WAS ABLE TO WALK OUT OF HERE GUILTY, YES. BUT ON A REDUCED CHARGE OF MANSLAUGHTER. AND WITH A SENTENCE THAT, IN REALTIME, WOULD AMOUNT TO ONLY ABOUT TWO YEARS. AND HERE’S THE IRONIC KICKER. SHE WAS ABLE TO USE THE WHOLE SORDID EXPERIENCE TO LAUNCH A NEW CAREER. [♪♪] SHE WOULD BECOME A POSTER GIRL FOR ABUSED WOMEN. STARRING IN A MAJOR DOCUMENTARY BY THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD. SHE STARTED SERVING HER SENTENCE IN THE NOTORIOUS PRISON FOR WOMEN IN KINGSTON, BUT IT WAS SOON OBVIOUS THAT SHE DIDN’T PLAN TO BE THERE FOR LONG. SHE WON PAROLE IN 1994, AND BEFORE LONG WAS MAKING PUBLIC APPEARANCES. THROUGHOUT THE ’90S SHE WOULD BECOME A FAMILIAR FACE AND A FAMILIAR VOICE IN THE NATIONAL MEDIA. >>NO ONE KNEW THAT I WAS A BATTERED WOMAN. >>Linden: REMARKABLY, SHE OWED HER PROMINENCE TO A TRAGEDY. A HOMICIDE THAT BECAME ALMOST HEROIC BECAUSE OF WHY SHE DID IT.>>HE HAD A KNIFE IN HIS HAND. HE TOLD ME HE WAS GOING TO KILL ME. BUT FIRST HE WAS GOING TO TAKE ME SOMEWHERE.>>Linden: IT WAS A COMPELLING STORY. AND HER LISTENERS NEVER CHALLENGED IT.>>LATER ON, EARLY THAT EVENING, WE WENT INTO THIS ROAD. IT WAS LIKE A LOGGING ROAD IN THE WOODS. AND HE RAPED ME AT KNIFE POINT AND THEN HE GOT OUT OF THE CAR AND HE WALKED AROUND BEHIND THE CAR. HE HAD TO URINATE. SO I SAW THAT AS MY CHANCE TO GET AWAY.>>Linden: WHEN WE RETURN, MELISSA TAKES THE HOT SEAT TO DISCUSS LIFE, LOVE AND DESTINY.>>I BEGAN SPEAKING IN TONGUES AND I REALLY FELT THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. [♪♪] [♪♪]>>Linden: THE ’90S WERE DRAMATIC TIMES FOR MELISSA STEWART. MARRIAGES AND WIDOWHOOD. TWO YEARS IN THE PENITENTIARY FOR MANSLAUGHTER. IT WAS TIME FOR NEW BEGINNINGS. SHE WENT TO FLORIDA. WHERE BETTER TO SEEK GUIDANCE FOR A NEW START IN LIFE THAN CHURCH? AND IN THIS CHURCH, SHE DIDN’T HAVE TO WAIT LONG TILL THE NEW LIFE MATERIALIZED. ROBERT FRIEDRICH WAS MAKING A BRAVE RECOVERY FROM GRIEF. MELISSA REMEMBERS HOW THEY MET.>>THE HOLY SPIRIT TOLD ME THAT THIS MAN WOULD BE MY NEXT HUSBAND.>>Linden: THE SPIRIT SPOKE TO YOU AND SAID THAT TALL GUY WITH THE …>>THEY TOLD ME, HE TOLD ME EXACTLY WHO THE PERSON WAS. I COULD SEE HIM BECAUSE HE WAS UP ON THE PLATFORM WITH THE PASTOR AND SOME OTHER PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY WERE PLANNING A TRIP TO JERUSALEM. I BEGAN SPEAKING IN TONGUES AND I, UM. I REALLY FELT THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.>>Linden: FRIEDRICH’S FAMILY IN BOSTON WERE SHOCKED WHEN THEY HEARD THEIR FATHER MENTION MARRIAGE. DENNIS FRIEDRICH.>>WELL, I REMEMBER TELLING HIM AT THE TIME, YOU KNOW, DAD THIS IS, I DON’T KNOW WHO SHE IS, BUT I THINK THAT SHE’S EITHER VERY UNSTABLE OR SHE’S OUT TO MAKE – – SHE’S OUT TO GET INTO SOMETHING NO GOOD. SHE’S A CONNIVER. >>Linden: THREE DAYS AFTER THEIR FIRST MEETING THE HAPPY COUPLE WERE ENGAGED. FRIEDRICH WANTED THE APPROVAL OF HIS SKEPTICAL FAMILY.>>HE WOULD PHONE ME UP AND TRY TO GET ME TO GIVE HIM MY BLESSING ON THE MARRIAGE. I SAID I CAN’T DO THAT, DAD. I POSSIBLY CAN’T DO THAT BECAUSE YOU GET, YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME TO GET TO KNOW SOMEBODY. I MUST HAVE SAID, YOU KNOW, A HUNDRED TIMES, WHAT’S THE RUSH? OF COURSE HE WAS SAYING, YOU KNOW, I’M OLD. I DON’T HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF TIME LEFT.>>Linden: SO HE WAS IN A HURRY, AND AFTER ONLY A MONTH WENT TO A MARRIAGE CHAPEL IN DARTMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA AND MADE IT OFFICIAL. AFTER 53 YEARS IN HIS FIRST MARRIAGE HE WAS READY FOR A FLING. AND THE NEWLYWEDS PROMPTLY SET OUT ON A FIVE HONEYMOON THAT COVERED MUCH OF NORTH AMERICA AND BLEW A HOLE IN HIS LIFE SAVINGS. AN ESTIMATED $250,000. THE GRAND FINALE WAS A LUXURY CRUISE IN THE CARIBBEAN. AND THEN THEY SETTLED DOWN IN ROBERT FRIEDRICH’S MODEST HOME IN BRADENTON ON FLORIDA’S GULF COAST. HE WAS 82 YEARS OLD AND BY ALL APPEARANCES, HAPPY. BUT THE FAMILY STARTED NOTICING CHANGES. HE’D ALWAYS BEEN ROBUST. BUT AFTER MELISSA CAME ON THE SCENE, HE BECAME UNSTEADY ON HIS FEET. NOBODY WANTED TO JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS. THEY WERE SUSPICIOUS THAT DAD WAS BEING DRUGGED. A DISTURBING PATTERN SEEMED TO BE EMERGING. HE’D FALL DOWN. HURT HIMSELF. LAND IN THE HOSPITAL.>>I THINK THAT OVER THE PATTERN, OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS OR SO THAT WHENEVER, WE BEGAN TO HEAR ABOUT FALLING QUITE A BIT AND WHENEVER WE TALKED TO HIM ON THE TELEPHONE HE’D BE SLURRING HIS WORDS. AND THAT WAS NOT RIGHT. THAT WAS NOT SOMETHING THAT WAS PART OF HIS M.O. ESPECIALLY WHENEVER YOU’D VISIT HIM. IF HE CAME UP HERE AND VISITED HE’D BE FINE. BUT YOU TALKED TO HIM ON THE TELEPHONE DOWN THERE AND HE’D BE, LIKE, HE’D SOUND DOPEY. SO WE WERE BECOMING PROGRESSIVELY MORE SUSPICIOUS.>>Linden: THE EMERGENCY TRIPS TO HOSPITAL BECAME MORE FREQUENT. AND THEY ALWAYS SEEMED TO HAPPEN WHEN MELISSA WAS ON THE SCENE. THE FAMILY DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO STEP IN.>>MY BROTHER BOB HAD CONTACTED THE ELDER ABUSE AGENCY DOWN IN FLORIDA. AND FROM WHAT HE TELLS ME, IS THAT THEY DID GO OUT AND THEY DID VISIT THE HOME, AND THAT THEY CAME BACK WITH A RECOMMENDATION THAT MY FATHER HAVE 24-7 IN-HOME NURSING CARE. TO MAKE SURE THAT HE WAS BEING PROPERLY CARED FOR. AND SHE REFUSED TO ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN. MELISSA DID. AND SHE ALSO THREATENED TO SUE THE ELDER ABUSE AGENCY. SO THE STORY IS, THEY BACKED OFF AND DIDN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. BUT MEANWHILE, SHE CALLED UP AND LEFT A MESSAGE FOR MY BROTHER THAT WAS REALLY NASTY.>>HELLO, BOB. THIS IS MELISSA FRIEDRICH CALLING. I HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE WITH YOU THIS MORNING. UH, YOUR FATHER AND I ARE GOING TO SEE A LAWYER. WE’VE MADE AN APPOINTMENT, AND YOUR FATHER IS GOING TO CHANGE HIS WILL. HE’S GOING TO LEAVE ALL THE MONEY TO ME EXCEPT FOR THE PORTION THAT HE HAS SET ASIDE FOR AND YOU YOUR TWO BROTHERS. AND THAT PORTION NOW IS GOING TO GO TO THE CHRISTIAN RETREAT. AND YOU GUYS ARE GETTING NOTHING. A BIG FAT ZERO. SO TRY THAT ON FOR SIZE AND HAVE A NICE DAY.>>Linden: SO HERE’S WHERE THE FAMILY’S COMING FROM. AND YOU CAN CORRECT ME. DAD HAD A LITTLE NEST EGG OF MAYBE $300,000.>>THAT’S NOT TRUE.>>Linden: HE HAD A HOUSE AND HE HAD AN INSURANCE POLICY. MELISSA SHOWS UP. THE $300,000 EVAPORATES. SHE BECOMES, YOU KNOW, SOLE CONTROL OF EVERYTHING ELSE. HE STARTS FALLING DOWN. HIS HEALTH STARTS GOING. THIS IS ESSENTIALLY THEIR PERCEPTION. >>YES.>>Linden: DON’T YOU – -DOES IT SURPRISE YOU THAT THEY GET A LITTLE BIT ANXIOUS?>>WELL, NO, IT DOESN’T. IF I, IF I WERE IN THEIR SHOES, I WOULD PROBABLY BE THE SAME WAY. AND SUSPICIOUS, AND EVERYTHING ELSE.>>Linden: WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE $300,000?>>HE DIDN’T HAVE – – HE HAD $240,000 WHEN I MET HIM. THAT’S WHAT HE HAD. >>Linden: AND WHERE DID THAT GO?>>AND PART OF THAT WAS INSURANCE POLICIES. HE HAD LOANED MONEY TO HIS SONS OVER THE YEARS SO HE HAD DRAWN AGAINST HIS INSURANCE POLICIES. BUT HE DID NAME ME BENEFICIARY IN ALL OF HIS INSURANCE POLICIES. HE HAD NINE OF THEM. >>Linden: IN MID-DECEMBER, 2002, MARRIED TO MELISSA FOR JUST UNDER 18 MONTHS, ROBERT FRIEDRICH DIED. HE WAS CREMATED WITHOUT AN AUTOPSY. THE FAMILY WAS LEFT WITH PART OF AN INSURANCE POLICY. SOME OLD PHOTOGRAPHS AND PAPERS. AND A LOT OF SAD MEMORIES. MELISSA STAYED ON IN FLORIDA FOR THE NEXT FIVE MONTHS. SOLD THE HOUSE. COLLECTED SOME INSURANCE MONEY AND POCKETED ABOUT $100,000. OVER THE NEXT YEAR SHE’D SPEND AS MUCH TIME AS SHE COULD IN FLORIDA. LEISURE AND BALMY WEATHER WERE PART OF A LIFESTYLE SHE’D ALWAYS CRAVED. BUT BY MID-2004, SHE WAS RESETTLED BACK IN P.E.I. WHERE PEOPLE HAVE LONG MEMORIES. WHERE NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY, IT’S DIFFICULT TO ESCAPE A SHADY HISTORY. AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE FRIEDRICHS? LIKE THE FOLKS BACK IN P.E.I., THEY DIDN’T FORGET HER SO EASILY EITHER.>>EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE I WOULD GO ON THE INTERNET AND JUST THROW ONE OF HER NAMES IN. BECAUSE I KNEW THAT SHE WAS A MELISSA RUSSELL AT ONE POINT. MELISSA SHEPHERD. MELISSA STEWART. MELISSA FRIEDRICH. AND I’D THROW THEM INTO GOOGLE, TRYING TO FIND SOMETHING. AND I NEVER FOUND ANYTHING REALLY SPECIFIC. BUT ONE DAY I PUT HER NAME IN AS MELISSA ANNE STEWART IN QUOTATION MARKS, AND I GOT ABOUT 25 HITS. AND OUT OF ONE OF THOSE THERE WAS ONE THAT LED TO AN ARTICLE THAT WAS PUBLISHED BY A CRIME WRITER FOR THE HALIFAX HERALD. AND IT WAS CALLED TOO MANY DEATHS ALONG OLD GUYSBOROUGH ROAD. AND THEN IT SAID, IN 1992 MELISSA ANNE STEWART WAS CONVICTED OF KILLING GORDON STEWART, HER HUSBAND, AND LEAVING HIM OUT THERE ON OLD GUYSBOROUGH ROAD AFTER RUNNING OVER HIM WITH HER CAR. AND I THOUGHT, THIS IS HER. I FOUND IT. I KNOW WHO SHE IS.>>Linden: THEY – – TO THIS DAY, THEY THINK YOU DID IT. THEY THINK YOU HAD YOUR HAND IN THAT DEATH.>>THAT’S NOT TRUE.>>Linden: WHEN WE COME BACK, MELISSA STEWART, SELF>>HE WENT BEHIND THE CAR. I JUMPED IN THE CAR AND TURNED THE KEY ON AND BACKED THE CAR UP OVER HIM.>>Linden: AND THEN DROVE AHEAD OVER HIM.>>AND THEN DROVE AHEAD. [♪♪] [♪♪]>>Linden: MELISSA’S MARRIAGE TO ROBERT FRIEDRICH LASTED JUST ABOUT AS LONG AS HIS MONEY. AFTER HE DIED, HIS FAMILY GREW SUSPICIOUS THAT SHE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH HIS DECLINE, THOUGH THEY HAD NO CONCRETE EVIDENCE. THEN THEY STUMBLED ON A HORROR STORY FROM HER PAST, WHAT HAPPENED TO ANOTHER HUSBAND, GORDON STEWART.>>YOU KNOW, AFTER PUTTING TOGETHER THOSE — THE WAY THAT SHE WAS DRUGGING GORDON AND THE WAY THAT MY DAD WAS ACTING, I HAD NO DOUBT IN MY MIND AT THAT POINT.>>Linden: THE SAME M.O. >>SHE KILLED HIM. I HAVE — I CAN’T PROVE IT. BUT I KNOW SHE DID IT.>>Linden: THEY — TO THIS DAY THEY THINK YOU DID IT. THEY THINK YOU HAD YOUR HAND IN THAT DEATH.>>THAT’S NOT TRUE. I DID NOT HAVE MY HAND IN THAT DEATH.>>Linden: WELL, THEY LOOK AT — YOU DID YOU KILL GORDON STEWART.>>YES. AFTER HE RAPED ME. I KILLED HIM.>>Linden: AND SO THE FRIEDRICH FAMILY SAY, WELL, IF SHE KILLED ONE HUSBAND …>>YEAH, WELL THAT DOESN’T MEAN THERE’S A PATTERN THERE. NO. BECAUSE THEIR FATHER AND I HAD A VERY GOOD MARRIAGE, AND WE WERE NOT HOSTILE TOWARDS EACH OTHER OR ANYTHING ELSE. BUT I DO FEEL THAT I’M BEING RAILROADED, AND IT’S — A LOT OF IT IS BASED ON PAST RECORD.>>AND THAT’S YOUR CHAIR RIGHT THERE.>>THANK YOU. Linden: AS WE SPOKE, IT WAS CLEAR MELISSA FELT HER PROBLEMS WERE BASED ON MISUNDERSTANDING. EVEN THE VIOLENT DEATH OF GORDON STEWART, WHICH SHE HAD NEVER TALKED ABOUT IN COURT, BUT WAS NOW ANXIOUS TO JUSTIFY.>>Linden: YOU SAID YOU WERE RAPED.>>YES. >>Linden: BUT THERE WAS NO SORT OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE OF A RAPE.>>WELL, THAT’S WHAT THEY SAID. THAT’S WHAT THEY SAID. BUT THEN, WHAT CAN I SAY? TO SAY THAT HE RAPED ME DOESN’T MEAN HE HAS TO HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH ME. THAT MEANS HE COULD HAVE PERFORMED OTHER KINDS OF SEX ON ME. THAT IS CONSIDERED RAPE.>>Linden: AND THEN YOU GO BACK TO THE CAR.>>HE WAS GOING TO URINATE. HE WENT BEHIND THE CAR. I JUMPED IN THE CAR AND TURNED THE KEY ON AND BACKED THE CAR UP OVER HIM.>>Linden: AND THEN DROVE AHEAD OVER HIM.>>AND THEN DROVE AHEAD. BECAUSE I WANTED TO GET OUT OF THAT ROAD AND THE ONLY WAY OUT WAS TO DRIVE AHEAD.>>Linden: OVER HIM. >>I DIDN’T MEAN TO BACK THE CAR UP OVER HIM EVEN. I JUST PUT IT IN THE WRONG GEAR, AND IT WENT BACKWARDS INSTEAD OF FORWARDS. I WAS … >>Linden: WHAT YOU HAVE PRESENTED IS HE TRIED TO RAPE YOU BUT COULDN’T.>>NO, I SAID–>>Linden: AND IN RETALIATION YOU KILLED HIM.>>HE, WHEN HE, WHEN HE TRIED TO PERFORM THE SEXUAL ACT, I’M NOT, TO SAY WHETHER OR NOT HE COULD DO IT. HE HAD EVERY INTENTION OF CARRYING IT OUT.>>Linden: I’M JUST GOING BY THE AUTOPSY FINDINGS AND THE TOXICOLOGY, WHICH SAID THAT THIS GUY WAS HARDLY ABLE – – LIKE, HE WAS GOING TO DIE FROM THE AMOUNT OF STUFF THAT HE HAD TAKEN ON THAT DAY.>>IN HIM.>>Linden: SO WHETHER YOU RAN OVER HIM OR NOT, HE WAS, LIKE, TOXIC WITH DRUGS AND ALCOHOL. AND I HAVE A HARD TIME VISUALIZING A GUY BEING SO DANGEROUS THAT YOU HAVE TO RUN OVER HIM WITH A CAR.>>WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I DIDN’T KNOW WHEN I BACKED THE CAR UP, I DIDN’T KNOW THAT HE WAS RIGHT THERE. I THOUGHT HE WAS BEHIND THE CAR. AND I THOUGHT THAT I HAD HIT A LOG BECAUSE WE WERE ON A LOGGING ROAD. I DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS HIM THAT I HAD HIT.>>Linden: FOR GORDON’S FRIENDS AND RELATIVES IN P.E.I. THE DETAILS OF WHAT HAPPENED WOULD HAUNT THEIR DREAMS FOR YEARS TO COME.>>NIGHT AFTER NIGHT AFTER GORDON WAS MURDERED, AND ALL I COULD SEE, ALL I COULD SEE WHEN I CLOSED MY EYES WAS THAT CAR GOING OVER HIS HEAD. AND, YOU KNOW, I THINK, WAS HE CONSCIOUS ENOUGH TO KNOW IT WAS COMING AND HE COULDN’T MOVE? YOU KNOW, WHAT KIND OF A PERSON WOULD DO THAT TO SOMEBODY ELSE? THIS IS NOT AN ABUSED WIFE.>>Linden: WHAT WAS SHE?>>SHE WAS AN ABUSIVE, IS AN ABUSIVE PERSON. HERSELF.>>Linden: IT IS 2004 IN MONTAGUE, P.E.I. WINTER IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. AND MELISSA IS RUNNING LOW ON MONEY. AND SHE’S FACING A WHOLE NEW SET OF LEGAL PROBLEMS. REMEMBER, SHE HAD MAYBE $100,000 FROM ROBERT FRIEDRICH’S ESTATE. IT TURNS OUT THAT WASN’T HER ONLY MEANS OF SUPPORT. THE RCMP HAD BEEN LOOKING INTO HER FINANCES. MELISSA HAD BEEN UP TO SOME OF HER OLD TRICKS. EVEN WHEN SHE WAS MARRIED TO THE DEVOUT ROBERT FRIEDRICH, STEALING MONEY. FROM THE CANADIAN TAXPAYER. CORPORAL ALLEN AFFLECK.>>SHE WAS USING TWO DIFFERENT NAMES. MELISSA STEWART AND MELISSA SHEPHERD. UNDER TWO DIFFERENT SOCIAL INSURANCE NUMBERS. WITH, I BELIEVE, THE SAME DATE OF BIRTH. SHE WAS RECEIVING FUNDS AND BENEFITS IN RELATION TO SPOUSAL BENEFITS.>>Linden: BUT WHEN THEY SHOWED UP TO ARREST HER IN NOVEMBER SHE WAS GONE. SHE WAS OFF TO FLORIDA AGAIN. OFF TO ANOTHER MATRIMONIAL PROSPECT. THIS TIME DIRECTED NOT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, BUT BY THE UNHOLY INTERNET. REMEMBER ALEX STRATEGOS? HE’D GONE TO AN INTERNET DATING WEBSITE AND FOUND MELISSA WITH HER WHITE CADDY. THEY HAD A ROMANTIC DINNER, AND SHE WENT HOME WITH HIM.>>SHE WAS VERY NICE. SHE WAS VERY HELPFUL AND UNDERSTANDING, AND THAT’S THE WAY SHE APPEARED TO ME. >>BY DECEMBER THEY’RE LIVING AS HUSBAND AND WIFE AND SHE’S TAKING CHARGE OF HIS FINANCES. NOW, LIKE HER PREVIOUS MATES, HE’S EXPERIENCING DIZZY SPELLS. FALLING DOWN A LOT.>>911, CAN I HELP YOU?>>Linden: IN UNDER TWO MONTHS HE’S RUSHED TO HOSPITAL EIGHT TIMES. HE’S ALREADY SUFFERING FROM DIABETES. WITH THIS SUDDEN DOWNTURN MELISSA FIGURES MAYBE HE’S TOO MUCH FOR HER. MAYBE HE SHOULD BE IN A NURSING HOME. AND IN JANUARY THAT’S WHERE HE ENDS UP. SITTING IN A WHEELCHAIR, WONDERING HOW HE GOT HERE. VAGUELY AWARE THAT HE HAS SIGNED HIS LIFE OVER TO MELISSA. GIVING HER POWER OF ATTORNEY OVER HIS AFFAIRS. SUDDENLY WHAT FUTURE HE HAS LEFT ISN’T LOOKING TOO ATTRACTIVE. BUT LUCKILY FOR ALEX, HIS SON DEAN SEEMED TO LACK HIS DAD’S SENTIMENTAL STREAK. DEAN STRATEGOS BECAME INCREASINGLY SUSPICIOUS.>>SHE GOT HIM TO SIGN A POWER OF ATTORNEY WHEN HE WAS COMPLETELY OUT OF IT AND DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WAS SIGNING. AND THEN SHE STARTED SNIFFING AROUND FOR THE DEED TO THE HOUSE. WITHOUT TELLING ANY OF THE FAMILY MEMBERS. AND I — THEN I REALIZED THAT IT WAS PROBABLY TIME TO TURN INVESTIGATOR AND DO A LITTLE POKING AROUND AND SEE WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH HIS TOXICOLOGY REPORTS. >>Linden: BENZODIAZEPINE. A RED FLAG WENT UP. IT’S A TRANQUILIZER HIS FATHER DIDN’T NEED AND AS HE’D EVENTUALLY FIND OUT, IT WAS SOMETHING HIS FATHER HAD IN COMMON WITH TWO OTHER MEN IN MELISSA’S LIFE. BOTH DECEASED. >>I STARTED MAKING PHONE CALLS. CALLED THE BANK. I CALLED 1-800-96-ABUSE FOR ELDERLY FOLKS, AND I WAS ADVISED TO CALL THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES TO MAKE THINGS GO A LITTLE FASTER BEFORE SHE FLEW THE COOP. SHE PRETTY MUCH CLEANED HIM OUT OF EVERYTHING THAT HE OWNS AND TRIED TO PUT THE CONDO INTO HER NAME. >>Linden: SHE TOOK HIS MONEY. >>SHE TOOK ALL OF HIS MONEY.>>Linden: HOW MUCH MONEY?>>ABOUT $18,000. HIS LIFE SAVINGS. ONE DAY THE ACCOUNT HAD $18,000 IN IT. THE NEXT DAY IT HAD, LIKE, $2.63 IN IT.>>YES. AND I SAY THAT FIGURE IS NOT CORRECT. HE DIDN’T HAVE $18,000 FOR ME TO CLEAN OUT. >>Linden: WELL, WE KNOW ABOUT AN $8,000 PAYMENT THAT YOU MADE. $800 TO YOUR DAUGHTER. THERE WAS A $5,000 MONEY ORDER.>>THE POLICE HAVE THAT $5,000 MONEY ORDER.>>Linden: RIGHT. BUT WE’RE GETTING WARM HERE. WE’RE GETTING CLOSE TO $18,000 WHEN YOU PUT ALL THAT STUFF TOGETHER. AND IT ALL COMES OUT OF MR. STRATEGOS’ MEAGER ASSETS.>>NO. THE FIGURE IS WRONG. THAT FIGURE IS WRONG. WHERE THEY GET — YOU’RE TALKING $800 AND –>>Linden: AND $8,000. >>AND $8,000 AND $5,000. THAT’S $13,800. OKAY. THAT’S STILL NOT $18,000. >>Linden: NO, BUT WE’RE GETTING IN THE BALLPARK.>>WELL, I STILL SAY I DID NOT CLEAN HIM OUT OF THAT MUCH MONEY. HE HAD ASKED ME TO PAY HIS BILLS. I GOT HIM TO SIGN A POWER OF ATTORNEY.>>Linden: WHEN HE WAS PRETTY FAR GONE. HE WAS HARDLY ABLE TO SIGN HIS NAME AT THE TIME BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY EVENTUALLY CLAIM WAS THAT OLD WORD, BENZODIAZEPINE, IN HIS SYSTEM.>>HE –>>Linden: YOU CAN SEE THE PATTERN.>>THE PATTERN, YES. YES, WELL …>>Linden: YOU CAN SEE WHERE THIS ALL ADDS UP TO A FAIRLY INCRIMINATING SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES AS FAR AS MELISSA FRIEDRICH IS CONCERNED.>>WELL, YES. THAT SOUNDS VERY BAD. AND I CAN’T SAY THAT PERSONALLY GIVE HIM BENZODIAZEPINES. IF HE HAD THEM IN HIS SYSTEM WE ALREADY KNEW — HE KNEW AND I KNEW THAT OUR RELATIONSHIP WAS NOT GOING TO CONTINUE.>>AT NIGHT WHEN I’D GO TO BED SHE’D BRING ME A LITTLE DISH OF ICE CREAM. NOT MORE THAN A LITTLE CUSTARD CUP. MAYBE A COUPLE TEASPOONS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, AND SHE’D BRING IT INTO THE BEDROOM, AND SHE’D FEED IT TO ME. I GUESS THAT’S WHERE THE DRUGS WERE. THEN I’D GET UP TO GO TO THE BATHROOM AND FALL FLAT ON MY FACE.>>I CALL HER THE INTERNET BLACK WIDOW. WHICH WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, SHE’S A WOMAN WHO USES THE INTERNET TO MEET MEN. AND RATHER THAN LOOK FOR LOVE, SHE LOOKS TO TAKE EVERYTHING THAT THEY HAVE AND THEN, AT TIMES, ATTEMPT TO KILL THEM.>>Linden: WHEN WE SPOKE TO HER, MELISSA WAS FACING THE HARSH GLARE OF JUSTICE IN THE SUNSHINE STATE. SIX FELONY CHARGES. EXPLOITATION OF THE ELDERLY, THEFT, FRAUD. LIFE HAD NEVER BEEN A BED OF ROSES FOR MELISSA. BUT NOW AS SHE APPROACHED HER 70TH BIRTHDAY, IT WAS LOOKING POSITIVELY THORNY. WE TALKED TO THE STRATEGOS PEOPLE. >>YES. >>Linden: AND THEY THINK YOU’RE A PRETTY AWFUL WOMAN.>>YES. >>Linden: WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THEM?>>I DON’T HAVE A LOT TO SAY TO THEM BECAUSE I THINK IF THEY HAD TALKED TO ME IN PERSON, AND THAT I COULD HAVE, YOU KNOW, MADE SOME KIND OF COMPENSATION TO THEM OR WHATEVER IT WAS THAT HE WANTED, BUT I JUST — I THINK WE COULD HAVE WORKED IT OUT OURSELVES WITHOUT GETTING THE POLICE INVOLVED.>>Linden: HOW LONG CAN THIS GO ON?>>IT CAN’T. IT JUST CAN’T. AND THIS IS PROBABLY – – EVEN IF THEY DO PUT ME IN PRISON AND KEEP ME THERE, THIS IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE HOW I’LL END MY LIFE.>>Linden: LET’S JUST SAY THAT SOME JUDGE SAYS SHE’S OLD AND SHE’S NOT A THREAT TO SOCIETY ANYMORE. BUT THERE IS A PATTERN GOING BACK FOR 30 ILLEGAL ACTIVITY. ALL THE WAY UP TO MANSLAUGHTER. CAN YOU CHANGE?>>I CAN’T SAY THAT FROM NOW ON I’LL BE A PERFECT CITIZEN. BUT I’M JUST GOING TO TRY, DAY BY DAY, TO BEHAVE MYSELF AND TO DO WHAT I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING ALL ALONG. BUT I CAN’T SAY THAT THAT IS GOING TO BE THE OUTCOME OF HOW MY LIFE WILL END.>>Linden: WHEN WE COME BACK, DEJA VU. ALL OVER AGAIN.>>HOW COULD YOU MARRY SOMEBODY AND THEN HURT THEM BEFORE THE WEEK WAS UP? [♪♪] [♪♪]>>Linden: KICKED OUT OF THE UNITED STATES, NEVER TO RETURN, MELISSA MOVED TO NOVA SCOTIA WHERE SHE HAD FAMILY CONNECTIONS NEAR NEW GLASGOW. SHE WAS LIVING HERE IN THIS NEW GLASGOW SENIORS’ COMPLEX WHEN A NEW NEIGHBOUR MOVED IN FOUR DOORS DOWN. A QUIET, PRIVATE WIDOWER NAMED FRED WEEKS. GEORGE MEGENEY GREW UP WITH FRED. HE KNEW HIS FRIEND WAS COPING FROM THE LOSS ABOUT A YEAR AGO OF HIS WIFE OF MANY YEARS.>>HE SEEMED TO BE ADJUSTING, BUT WHO KNOWS WHAT A PERSON GOES THROUGH UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES. ON THE SURFACE HE SEEMED TO BE ADJUSTING OKAY.>>Linden: CARDS, ESPECIALLY CRIBBAGE ARE A MAINSTAY IN THE SOCIAL LIFE OF MANY NOVA SCOTIANS, ESPECIALLY THE SENIORS. FRED, BY ALL ACCOUNTS WAS A KEEN CRIBBAGE PLAYER. BUT IT SEEMED THAT FRED HAD MORE THAN CRIBBAGE ON HIS MIND.>>LONELY, LOOKING FOR COMPANIONSHIP, SO HE STARTED COMING HERE. ENJOYING HIMSELF AT THE DANCES. MAYBE MEET SOME LADIES.>>Linden: AND THEN IT SEEMED THAT FRED WAS, AS HIS GENERATION USED TO SAY, GOING STEADY. >>FRED USED TO COME HERE BY HIMSELF AND HAVE A FEW DANCES AND THEN GO HOME. SO I WAS SURPRISED WHEN I SEEN HIM THERE WITH A LADY AS A DATE. >>Linden: THE GIRLFRIEND WAS A LITTLE OLDER THAN FRED WHO WAS 75. BUT IT DIDN’T SEEM TO MATTER. AND VERY QUICKLY THERE WERE PLANS FOR MATRIMONY.>>I DIDN’T REALLY HAVE ANY CONTACT WITH HIM AFTER HE MET THIS LADY, UNTIL I GOT A TELEPHONE CALL AND ASKED ME IF I’D PERFORM THE MARRIAGE. AND, CERTAINLY, I SAID, YOU KNOW, I WAS PROUD TO DO SO.>>Linden: FRED SEEMED TO BE IN A RUSH TO TIE THE KNOT. SO GEORGE OBLIGED.>>I HAD A FAIRLY LONG CHAT WITH FRED AND THEN CONDUCTED THE CEREMONY. VERY SMALL. IT WAS HIS SON AND DAUGHTER FRED AND THE LADY WHO IDENTIFIED HERSELF TO ME AS MILLIE ANNE RUSSELL.>>Linden: THE NAME MILLIE ANNE RUSSELL DIDN’T RING A BELL, BUT HER STORY, WHEN HE HEARD IT FROM A FRIEND, SURE DID. HE WAS SHOCKED. HE’D SEEN HER STORY ON TV BUT HE DIDN’T RECOGNIZE HER ON HER WEDDING DAY. HE CALLED THE RCMP BUT THERE WAS NOTHING THEY COULD DO. AND IN THE END ALL THAT GEORGE COULD DO WAS CROSS HIS FINGERS, HOPING THAT FRED AND HE HADN’T MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE. NORTH SYDNEY IS THE FERRY TERMINAL FOR NEWFOUNDLAND, WHICH IS WHERE FRED AND MILLIE SPENT THEIR HONEYMOON. BUT ONLY FOR A FEW DAYS. THEY CAME BACK HERE EN ROUTE TO NEW GLASGOW SEVERAL HOURS AWAY. BUT THEY WEREN’T FEELING WELL AFTER THE FERRY CROSSING AND CHECKED INTO A LOCAL BED AND BREAKFAST. CHERYL CHAMBERS.>>AND THEY WERE LOOKING FOR A ROOM BECAUSE THEY HAD COME ACROSS FROM NEWFOUNDLAND AND IT WAS A ROUGH CROSSING AND THEY WERE UP ALL NIGHT. MRS. WEEKS EXPLAINED THAT THEY WERE BOTH SICK AND UP VOMITING ALL NIGHT. SO MR. WEEKS DIDN’T LOOK WELL AT ALL. HE LOOKED A LITTLE GREEN OR GAUNT BUT MRS. WEEKS, ON THE OTHER HAND, LOOKED SHE WAS BEAUTIFULLY GROOMED IN A LOVELY RED SUIT AND SHE DIDN’T LOOK LIKE SOMEONE WHO WAS SICK ALL NIGHT.>>Linden: THE COUPLE SPENT ALL DAY IN THEIR ROOM AND MR. WEEKS SEEMED NOT TO BE RECOVERING. IN THE EVENING, CHERYL KNOCKED ON THE DOOR TO SEE IF THEY WERE OKAY.>>SO I IMMEDIATELY WENT UP THE STAIRS AND CHECKED WITH HER. AND SHE OPENED THE DOOR A BIT AND I DID NOTICE MR. WEEKS ON THE BED, DIDN’T LOOK VERY WELL AT ALL.>>Linden: BY THE FOLLOWING MORNING IT WAS CLEAR THAT EVERYTHING WAS FAR FROM FINE. MRS. WEEKS, OVER BREAKFAST SUGGESTED TAKING HER HUSBAND TO THE LOCAL HOSPITAL. CHERYL OFFERED TO CALL AN AMBULANCE RIGHT AWAY.>>AND SHE SAID NO, NOT YET. SHE SAID I WANT TO FINISH EATING AND JUST, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE I’M GOING TO BE THERE ALL DAY. IT’S GOING TO BE A LONG DAY. SO THAT’S WHEN I DIALLED 911.>>Linden: FRED GOES TO THE HOSPITAL, SERIOUSLY ILL. MRS. FRED GOES HOME TO NEW GLASGOW. THEN THE PENNIES START TO DROP. THE GHOSTS OF MILLIE’S PAST BEGIN TO STIR AND THE COUNTRY IS ELECTRIFIED, INTERNET BLACK WIDOW STRIKES AGAIN. OR MAYBE NOT. IT COULD HAVE BEEN AS SIMPLE AS IT WOULD HAVE SEEMED IF IT WASN’T FOR HER LURID HISTORY. ELDERLY GENTLEMAN, UNACCUSTOMED TO ROMANCE AND TRAVEL AND UNFAMILIAR COOKING BUCKLES UNDER STRESS. TIME AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM WILL TELL. BUT FOR NOW, THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION IN NOVA SCOTIA IS ABUZZ.

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