The Last Supper: Judy Buenoano


Judy Buenoano is often referred to as the “black widow“. The nickname was first coined by a prosecutor, and subsequently picked up and popularized in the press.

Buenoano’s husband, James Goodyear, died under mysterious circumstances shortly after returning home from a tour of duty in Vietnam. Although at the time the cause of death was considered to be “natural causes,“ subsequent investigations suggest that Goodyear was poisoned with arsenic. Buenoano collected money from both Goodyear’s military life insurance policy, and also from home insurance when their house burned down later that year under suspicious circumstances.

Buenoano’s second victim was the boyfriend she met not long after her husband’s death, Bobby Joe Morris, who also died of arsenic poisoning. Again, Buenoano collected money from a life insurance policy.

A few years later Buenoano’s son visited her in Florida while en route to a military post. Michael survived being poisoned by his mother but the arsenic left his leg and arm muscles badly atrophied and his would subsequently require heavy metal leg braces to walk. Michael was discharged from the military and moved in with his mother. Michael drowned a few years later in a family canoeing “accident”; the unwieldy metal leg braces made it impossible for him to swim to shore. Buenoano collected a considerable sum from Michael’s military life insurance policy.

Not long after her son’s death, Buenoano got engaged to John Gentry and convinced him that they should each take out life insurance policies on each other. She fed Gentry arsenic-laced “vitamins“ which led to temporary hospitalization, but did not kill him. When her usual method of dispatch failed, Buenoano instead planted a car bomb that, miraculously, Gentry also survived.

Bueonano was executed for her crimes on March 30, 1998.

Her final meal was steamed broccoli, asparagus, tomato wedges with lemon, strawberries, and tea.