Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police Are Keeping Close Watch on 'Black Widow,' Crown Lawyer Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police Are Keeping Close Watch on 'Black Widow,' Crown Lawyer Says

Article excerpt

Police keeping eye on 'Black Widow': Crown

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HALIFAX - An 80-year-old known as the "Black Widow" for killing and poisoning men who were her intimate partners has been under police surveillance since being released from a Nova Scotia prison last month, a Crown lawyer confirmed Monday.

"We're keeping very close eyes on her," James Giacomantonio said outside provincial court in Dartmouth after a hearing.

He also confirmed that Melissa Ann Shepard must continue to adhere to conditions in a peace bond she agreed to upon her release.

"There's nothing more we can do to someone who hasn't committed a criminal offence," the lawyer said. "The most we can do is find out where she lives and then put these protections in place so that .. she has at least some barriers to meeting a new potential victim."

When she left the women's prison in Truro, N.S., on March 18, police issued a warning to the public, saying Shepard is considered a high risk to reoffend.

Under the terms of the peace bond, Shepard is required to report to police any potential relationship with a man, keep authorities aware of where she is living and inform police of changes to her appearance.

"She has to report all of her romantic relationships to the police," Giacomantonio said. "And the person who's involved in that relationship will be given the opportunity to speak to the police."

Shepard did not appear in court Monday when lawyers set a date for a hearing that will deal with her objections to some of the conditions in the peace bond.

That hearing will take place Oct 18. Giacomantonio said he plans to present Shepard's psychiatric reports and prison records as evidence.

An earlier report from the parole board concluded that Shepard had a tendency to fabricate and deny events to correctional staff, and is unable to link consequences to actions.

Meanwhile, Shepard could face more jail time if she breaches any of the 22 conditions, which also include restrictions on her use of the Internet. …

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