Judy Buenoano killed James Goodyear

Judy Buenoano in prison
Judy Buenoano

Marrying Judy Buenoano was fatal. Knowing her was risky.

Judias Welty, named for her mother, was born in 1943.

Mom died of tuberculosis when Judy was a child. Judy’s grandparents raised Judy and her infant brother after Mom’s death. Judy’s two older brothers were sent for adoption.

Judy rejoined her father ten years later. Her father remarried and moved to Roswell, New Mexico.

She was not happy in Roswell. Judy claimed that her stepmother and stepbrothers starved her and burned her with cigarettes. Judy scalded two stepbrothers with hot grease, and beat her parents to end her abuse. A Judge sentenced her 60 days in jail. Judy did not go home after jail. She finished high school in a reformatory, graduating in 1959.

Judy Goodyear

Air Force Sergeant James Goodyear married Judy in 1961. The couple settled in Orlando, Florida. Judy opened Conway Acres Child Care Center, with James listed as co-owner.

Judy Goodyear might have been happy until James returned to Florida after a year in Vietnam. Sadly, three months after returning to Florida, James got sick and seemed to die of natural causes.

James Goodyear had three life insurance policies. Judy would have gotten away with her husband’s murder, but her greed was stimulated by easy money.

Judy collected an additional $90,000 after her house burned down, a few months after her husband’s death.

Don’t Annoy Judy Buenoano

Judy met Bobby Joe Morris in 1971, and moved to Pensacola, Florida. She placed her son Michael Goodyear in foster care, because his academic and disciplinary problems annoyed her.

Morris moved his family to Trinidad, Colorado in 1977. Judy and Michael joined him after Judy collected another insurance from a house fire. Judy changed her name to Judias Morris in Colorado.

Bobby Joe Morris and Judy were suspects in a 1974 murder, committed in Bobby Joe’s hometown of Bewston, Alabama. Police found a corpse with a gunshot wound and a slashed throat in a hotel room. The case was not solved, because police did not recover a bullet or fingerprints from the crime scene.

Judy reportedly told Bobby, “The son of a bitch shouldn’t have come up here in the first place. He knew if he came up here he was gonna die.”

Bobby Joe Morris went to to San Rafael Hospital after a sudden illness, on January 4, 1978. Unfortunately, the hospital could not diagnose his illness..

Just like Frank Rodriguez, the hospital released Bobby Joe Morris to his murderer. Morris survived for one week under Judy’s care, after his discharge.

She was the beneficiary of three life insurance policies on Morris.

Bobby Joe Morris said, “Judi, we should never have done that terrible thing,” before he died.

How did Judy earn Morris’s loyalty? Why did he commit a murder with her, and stay with her after the murder?

On May 3, 1978 Judy changed her last name to Buenoano, “Goodyear’ in Spanish. Michael and Judy Buenoano moved to Pensacola, Florida. Michael joined the Army and completed basic training.

Sadly, Michael visited his mother on his way to his assignment in Fort Benning, Georgia. Alas, Michael was too sick for basic training. The Army diagnosed Michael with arsenic poisoning.

Michael received heavy leg and arm braces, because the arsenic destroyed his muscles. Judy inexplicably invited Michael and his brother James for a canoe ride, one day after Michael’s hospital discharge.

The canoe overturned. Michael and Judy swam to shore, but James drowned. Michael’s death provided Judy with the proceeds of three life insurance policies.

Judy was not prosecuted for Michael’s death, although handwriting experts thought his signature was forged on two policies.

Judy collected over $240,000 from the deaths of James Goodyear, Michael Buenoano and Bobby Joe Morris.

She opened a beauty salon in Gulf Breeze after Michael’s death.

Judy Buenoano Fakes a Pregnancy

John Gentry II was Judy’s next victim. Gentry and Buenoano took out $50,000 life insurance policies on each other, after their engagement. However, Judy secretly increased his policy to $500,000 without his knowledge.

Judy told Gentry that she was nurse. She told friends that Gentry had a terminal disease.

Judy gave Gentry “vitamins” which made him dizzy.

Their relationship ended after Judy told John that she was pregnant. James went out to buy champagne, for a celebration. Sadly, his car exploded.

The car bomb was her mistake. Judy should have cremated her victims and stuck to arsenic.

Judy Buenoano. Source Murderpedia. Judy prepared her friends for John Gentry’s, by telling her friends that he had a terminal illness. Unfortunately (for Judy), Judy’s car bomb did not kill him.

Police informed Gentry that Judy was not a nurse, and she could not get pregnant. An examination of John Gentry’s vitamins found arsenic.

Police arrested Judy after a search of her house found wires and tape matching the car bomb. Telephone records linked her to the purchase of dynamite used for the bomb.

James Goodyear and Bobby Joe Morris were exhumed after Judy’s arrest. Both bodies contained arsenic.

Police also exhumed another boyfriend, Gerald Dossett, but no charges were filed for his death.

Judy was the defendant in three trials: the murders of Goodyear and Morris, and attempting to murder Gentry.

Incredibly, a jury acquitted Judy and her son James, for John Gentry’s attempted murder.


Judy’s sentence was 25 years to life for her son Michael’s murder. She received a death sentence for poisoning James Goodyear.

Judias Buenoano denied everything. She told an interviewer:

I would like to clear the record for my grandson, I would like for him to know that his grandmother was not a murderer.

Judy Buenoano lived on Death Row in the Broward Correctional Institution for 13 years, until her execution on March 30, 1998.

Judy Buenoano References

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