Judias “Judy” Buenoano, The Black Widow

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This is Judy Buenoano.
Not only did Judy murder the men who loved her, but she disabled then drowned her own son as well. All of this was done for the sake of insurance money.

Raised in Texas and New Mexico, Judy had had a horrible childhood. Her mother had passed away of tuberculosis when Judy was just 4, and she was sent to live with her grandparents; when her father remarried, the girl had no choice but to live with him. Father and stepmother had a couple of children of their own, and a young Judy became an outcast. She claimed to have suffered abuse at the hands of her stepmother; Judy was not only physically abused, but starved, and forced to become the family’s servant. At the age of 14, Judy attacked her father, stepmom, and the other children within the home. For this she was sentenced to a couple of months behind bars. After her release, Judy attended school to become a Certified Nurse’s Aid; soon she gave birth to her oldest child, Michael, the young man who she would eventually destroy.

Judy’s husband, James Goodyear

In November of 1962 Judy wed a military man named James Goodyear. James adopted Michael, and together the couple had another son, James Jr, and a daughter named Kimberly. Judy opened her own business in Orlando, Florida, it was a daycare center, while James was sent overseas to fight in the Vietnam war. In 1971 James came home from war, and he was soon medically treated for stomach pain; 3 short months later the strong military man was dead. James had been poisoned; for this death Judy collected 3 life insurance policies, which were promptly cashed in. Soon afterwords her home caught on fire, and she collected on that as well. This would become a pattern: fires and death were sure to follow wherever Judy would go.

Bobby Joe

Bobby Joe Morris became the next big love in Judy’s life, and for that he would pay dearly. He had been in and out of the hospital for a mysterious illness in the months prior to his death on January 21st of 1978. Though the man’s family persisted that Bobby had been murdered, his death was ultimately attributed to heart disease. Bobby’s family had been correct; he had been killed with arsenic, same as with Judy’s husband. There was also a home lost to fire; our black widow made out like a bandit with the insurance claims.

Judy’s eldest son, Michael

Within 2 years of Bobby’s death, Judy’s very own son, Michael, became her next target. Michael has been described as having a low IQ, and to have had a difficult time in school; at one point Judy had even placed this son in foster care. As a young man, Michael had signed up for the military. On his way to the Georgia military base in which he was stationed for boot camp, Michael stopped off to see his mama. At this point Judy poisoned her son, but it didn’t kill him; he was hospitalized. Michael’s muscles became so atrophied that he could not move them. This perfectly healthy young man who was ready to begin basic training in the military was now disabled with heavy metal braces on his limbs. But Michael was no good to Judy this way; she needed him dead, not disabled! On May 13th of 1980, the very day after he was released from the hospital, Judy convinced Michael, along with his younger brother, James, to take a canoe trip. This canoe capsized; it was later said that a snake had slithered upon the canoe, but it’s easy to see that Judy purposely tipped it over. James Jr and his mother both survived by swimming to land, but poor Michael. With all of that metal on his legs the man never stood a chance. He perished in the East River; though it was believed that the deceased young man’s signature had been forged on two of the three policies, the insurance still paid. Mama collected $20,000. worth of life insurance.

The family – what was left of them! Son James is in the corner, the younger woman is daughter Kimberly, there’s Judy, and on the end is John Gentry.

Next up we have Judy’s fiancee, a wallpaper hanger named John Gentry. Not long after the couple met, they moved in together; she must’ve been a smooth talker, because Judy had soon talked John into exchanging life insurance policies. John was the beneficiary in the case that Judy died, and vice versa. Soon after the 50K policies were issued, Judy upped John’s to 500K. On June 25th of 1983 Judy stated that she was pregnant, and an ecstatic John ran out to grab some champagne; when John attempted to start his car, it exploded. Somehow the man was fortunate enough to survive, but not unscathed; John doesn’t multiple months in the hospital. While talking to police after the bombing, John realized that things within his relationship hadn’t been as they’d seemed. Judy had never been pregnant, she’d lied about that, and had scheduled an upcoming cruise for herself and her children – John was not booked to come along! John mentioned to the police that Judy had given him vitamin capsules which had made him so deathly ill that he had required hospitalization; from then on John had pretended to take them. Thankfully instead of throwing them away, John had been smart enough to pocket the pills; at this time he handed them over to investigators. These so-called vitamins were tested, and found to have contained both formaldehyde and arsenic. The chemicals were strong enough to kill a person with a single dose.

John’s vehicle after bombing

With this knowledge, police began to look into all of the mysterious deaths surrounding Judy throughout the years. They found evidence that she had been responsible for John’s car bombing – materials such as tape and wire which matched the bomb were discovered inside her home. Investigators exhumed a couple of corpses and found them to contain poison – including the remains of her drowned son.

These aren’t the only murders attributed to Judy, there were a couple which police could not prove. Matter of fact, one of Judy’s victims, Bobby, had even confessed to one! On his death bed Bobby stated that he’d been involved in the 1974 murder of an Alabama man who had been discovered deceased in a motel room; the victim had been shot and his throat slashed. This murder, along with others, could not be proven.

Judy during a prison interview

Judy spent 12 years on death row. This killer became a mother figure to other female inmates, and even taught Bible study. Judy never did admit to the horrible acts in which she’d committed, she even said that she would like to clear her name so that her surviving children and grandchildren didn’t have to live with her being known as a killer. In November of 1985 our black widow was sentenced to death. Judy met with Florida’s Old Sparky back in 1998, she had been only 54 years of age.

The Black Widow

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10 Replies to “Judias “Judy” Buenoano, The Black Widow”

  1. This one was something else.. it’s not uncommon for people like her to kill their spouses for insurance.. but you have to be in another level to kill you’re children!.. and for s lousy 20 thousand?.. glad this one’s sentence was carried out.

    1. Agreed. That was above and beyond. The hell that young man was put through, and then imagine how he must’ve felt when his mother began to tip the canoe! He must’ve known exactly what was going on right before he went under.

  2. That’s an interesting case, I love all the detail and research that you put into your work. Keep up the great job.

  3. How can people kill someone let alone your own family, I could not even fathom doing that.. good luck on this new page

    1. I’d love to know the answer to that myself, and to watch the movie if so! I googled it, and so far it says she played Lizzie Borden. I’m still looking, if I find something I’ll let you know!

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