Mug shot of Buenoano
Judias V. Welty
April 4, 1943
|Died||March 30, 1998 (aged 54)|
|Other names||Judias Goodyear, Judy Morris, Judias Buenoano, Judy Goodyear, Judias Morris|
|Criminal status||Executed by electrocution|
James Goodyear (m. 1963–1971)
|Children||Michael Buenoano (1961–1980) James Goodyear (1966-) Kimberly Hawkins (1967-)|
|Motive||Life insurance money|
|Conviction(s)||First-degree murder (2 counts, March 31, 1984 & November 1, 1985), attempted murder (October 18, 1984), insurance fraud (March 31, 1984)|
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment (June 6, 1984)|
Death by electric chair (November 26, 1985)
|January 11, 1984|
|Imprisoned at||Broward Correctional Institution|
Judias V. “Judy” Buenoano (born Judias Welty, also known as Judias Goodyear and Judias Morris) (April 4, 1943 – March 30, 1998) was an American convicted murderer who was executed for the 1971 murder of her husband James Goodyear. She was also convicted for the 1980 murder of her son Michael Buenoano and of the 1983 attempted murder of her boyfriend John Gentry. Buenoano is also acknowledged to have been responsible for the 1978 death of her boyfriend Bobby Joe Morris in Colorado; however, by the time authorities made the connection between Buenoano and Morris, she had already been sentenced to death in the state of Florida.
Buenoano is also believed to have been involved in a 1974 murder in Alabama, and in the 1980 death of her boyfriend Gerald Dossett. After her arrest, Dossett's body was exhumed and analyzed for signs of arsenic poisoning. No charges were laid in that case. Buenoano was the first woman to be executed in Florida since 1848, and was only the third woman to be executed in the U.S. since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1976. Nationally, she was the first woman executed in the electric chair since 1957, when Rhonda Belle Martin was electrocuted in Alabama.
In 1971, Judy Welty had been married to James Goodyear (December 7, 1933 - September 16, 1971), a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force for eight years. According to prosecutors, she was motivated by insurance money when she poisoned him with lethal doses of arsenic. However, his death was initially believed to be due to natural causes. In 1973, she moved in with Bobby Joe Morris (1939 - January 1978); in January 1978, he succumbed; on analysis his tissues showed acute arsenic poisoning. Later that year, she legally changed her name to "Buenoano" (corrupted Spanish for "good year," from "buen año").
Buenoano's son Michael (March 30, 1961 - May 13, 1980) became severely ill in 1979, his symptoms including paraplegia; post-mortem examination indicated that he had been the victim of severe arsenic poisoning, which caused his disability. On May 13, 1980, Buenoano took Michael out in a canoe; the canoe rolled, and Michael, weighed down by his arm and leg braces, drowned.
In 1983, Buenoano was girlfriend to John Gentry. Gentry was severely injured when his car exploded. While he was recovering from his injuries, police began to find several discrepancies in Buenoano's background. Further investigation revealed that, in November 1982, she had begun telling her friends that Gentry was suffering from a terminal illness.
Upon learning this, Gentry provided police with the "vitamin pills" which Buenoano had been giving him. These were found to contain arsenic and formaldehyde. This led to the exhumations of Michael Goodyear, James Goodyear, and Bobby Joe Morris, and to the discovery that each man had been the victim of arsenic poisoning.
Conviction, imprisonment and execution
In 1984, Buenoano was convicted for the murder of Michael and the attempted murder of Gentry. In 1985 she was convicted of the murder of James Goodyear. She received a twelve-year sentence for the Gentry case, a life sentence for the Michael Buenoano case, and a death sentence for the James Goodyear case. She was convicted of multiple counts of grand theft (for insurance fraud), and is thought to have committed multiple acts of arson (again, for purposes of insurance fraud).
She was incarcerated in the Florida Department of Corrections Broward Correctional Institution death row for women, before being executed at the Florida State Prison in 1998. Her body was cremated after the execution.
- "Judias (Judi) Buenoano - Florida's 'Black Widow'". Fight the Death Penalty USA. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Staff (30 March 1998). "Florida Executes 'Black Widow'". CBS News. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
- "Florida Court Denies Appeal to Killer Known as 'Black Widow'". CNN. 27 March 1998. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Buenoano v. State, 527 So.2nd 194 (1988).
- "'Black widow' trial set to begin". Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph. Associated Press. 1985-10-21.
Michael Goodyear's partial paralysis of his arms and legs was caused by arsenic poisoning, [prosecutors] charged.
- Newton, Michael (1990). "Hunting Humans: An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers". Murderpedia. Breakout Productions. ISBN 978-1559500265. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Trischitta, Linda, Ariel Barkhurst and Kathleen Haughney. "Broward women's prison to close May 1." Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. January 12, 2012. Retrieved on April 21, 2013.
- Anderson, Chris; Sharon McGehee (1992). Bodies of Evidence: The Shocking True Story of America's Most Chilling Serial Murderess... From Crime Scene to Courtroom to Electric Chair. St. Martin's True Crime. ISBN 0-312-92806-8.