Friday, 27 July 2012

Psychopathic spouses (part 1)

Before I describe the first psychopathic spouse to you, I will explain briefly what a psychopathic person is like. Such a person has no conscience, no feelings of guilt or remorse, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. They are selfish, lazy, harmful, and immoral. And now, here is the first one I am telling you about.

Melissa Anne Friedrich

This woman was born in Burnt Church, New Brunswick, Canada on May 16, 1935. She is currently 76 years of age. She also lived in Nova Scotia's Pictou County and in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

In 1953, Melissa moved to Ontario, lived with her aunt and completed high school through evening correspondence at Stafford College. Obviously, she is not an uneducated person.

In 1955, Melissa met her first husband, Russell Shephard who was factory worker. She married him and they had two children.

In 1970, she was convicted in Toronto of false pretenses with respect to passing off four bad cheques. In 1977, she was convicted of forgery in Georgetown, Prince Edward Island with respect to uttering eleven more bad cheques. In 1979, she was convicted in Toronto of uttering eight bad cheques, fraud and false pretenses.  In 1982, she was convicted in Toronto with uttering three bad cheques, impersonating another person, false pretences and fraud. That same year, she was convicted in Toronto again with fraud and false pretences with respect to eight more cheques. Again she was convicted in Toronto in 1982 and this time it was for fraud and false pretenses with respect to eight cheques. Finally, a judge, whose mind wasn`t muddled like the other judges that only sentenced her to probation, sentenced her to six months in jail. Now one would think that this criminal would realize that crime doesn`t pay. She didn`t learn a thing because in 1984 while living in Toronto, she was convicted of one count of fraud over $200.00. This time, she was sent to a correctional institution for two years less a day.

Now obviously, anyone who commits fraud and issues bad cheques that many times is a psychopath because such a person doesn`t care about his or her victims with respect to the fraud and bad cheques. But I am not writing about this woman simply because she is dishonest. Her other actions later were much worse.

I don`t know when or why she and Russell Sheppard separated as an unmarried couple but she later married Gordon Stewart in Nova Scotia. She was convicted of manslaughter after using her car to back over her husband near the Halifax airport in 1991. Before running him over, she fed her husband a lethal dose of prescription drugs.

She claimed that as she attempted to get away from him after he had raped her, and for this reason, she had to drive over him, twice. In 1992, Melissa was convicted of manslaughter. Following her release in 1994 after only serving two years of a six-year sentence, this woman left Nova Scotia and eventually settled in Florida. She married her second husband, Robert Friedrich, in 2001. The couple met through an online matchmaking service. The man's son Dennis told a newspaper in Florida that Friedrich spotted his father on an online matchmaking site, and sent him a letter and picture of herself and writing that “God wanted us to be married.” Three days after they met, she got her wish.

His death a year later at age 83 after they were married only three days initially caused no concern. But Florida police then reopened the case after uncovering evidence that Friedrich had drugged and defrauded her latest husband. She was never charged in Friedrich`s death but Robert Friedrich's children successfully sued her for the return of most of his $100,000 estate. His family suspected that Melissa murdered their father but couldn`t prove it.

Meanwhile she had moved in with Alexander Strategos in Pinellas Park, near Tampa, Florida after meeting him through an online Christian dating service.

By then, Melissa Friedrich thereafter became known as the Internet Black Widow because that was how she met them—on the Internet.

Her next lover was an elderly man living in Pinnellas Park, Florida whose name is Alex Strategos. Friedrich travelled to Florida from P.E.I. to move in with Strategos after meeting him on the Internet. A year later after living with her, he was committed to a nursing home after he suspiciously began to get sick. Soon afterwards, Strategos' son, Dean, became concerned when his father's health suddenly deteriorated. When a blood test by Dean on his father revealed traces of unprescribed sedatives he called in the police. A suitcase filled with pills was subsequently discovered at his father's condominium. Melissa had drugged him with so much medication (some of it un-prescribed to him) that he ended up in the hospital eight times in just under two months and while in that drugged state, he signed over his  power of attorney to this predator when he really didn’t know anything about her background.

Investigators say Friedrich drugged Strategos and while he was in a drugged state; she persuaded him to sign a power-of-attorney document giving her the authority to look after his affairs in which she then withdrew $18,000 from his bank accounts over a period of three months.

While he was in in the nursing home, Melissa helped herself to his bank account. She was convicted of bilking the elderly Florida man of $18,000. In 2005, Melissa Friedrich was sentenced to five years in prison on seven counts of theft

She had previously met businessman Sunny Decker, a man who could have become Melissa’s next victim had she not been arrested for bilking Alex Strategos of his money.  She had dinner with Decker while Alex Strategos was living in a nursing home. Decker was one of twenty men from across the United States and Canada who Melissa made contact with via an Internet dating site.

Friedrich had also been charged and held on a charge of "exploitation of the elderly" with bail set at $10,000. She was not allowed to leave the United States.  She was also in trouble for supposedly lying to the US Department of Homeland Security about her Canadian manslaughter conviction.

By this time, this woman had 30 convictions for fraud, false pretenses and impersonation dating back 15 years, according to The Daily News in Halifax. However, her troubles with the law were not over. After she was released from a Florida prison and deported to Canada in 2009, she was accused that year of fraudulently obtaining old-age security payments (old age pensions) worth about $30,000 between 1997 and 2003. In 1997, she would only be 47 years of age and as such, she would not yet be eligible for old age pension. In 2003, she would be 53 years of age and still not eligible. Nevertheless, the Crown (prosecutor) withdrew the charge although it remains unclear why that actually happened.
                                                                                                                                     This particular spousal psychopath brought hopes of love and romance to her victims but instead she turned out to be a psychopathic predator who gained the trust of vulnerable, elderly men and then, according to their family members say, she tried to kill them or did kill them.

Investigators suspect Melissa Friedrich forged relationships with elderly men in order to rip off their life savings, leading her to be dubbed the "internet black widow" by the son of her latest alleged victim.

The son of one of Friedrich's late husbands said that the Internet can be a dangerous place for seniors. Dennis Friedrich said, “When you take people that have lost a spouse, they're going to be exceptionally lonely. They're easy prey for someone like this.”

That thought must be on everyone’s mind when you consider predators like Melissa Ann Friedrich.

She is currently in a senior’s home in Halifax and I can’t find any information that she is facing any more charges. At age 77, she doesn’t actually look very attractive so perhaps no seniors are excited anymore when she contacts them (if she is still doing it) on the Internet.

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