Judy Buenoano | The Black Widow

Judy Buenoano / Judy Goodyear
Judy Buenoano in prison
“I would have found myself guilty if I were the jury.”

Judy Buenoano, was born Judias Welty in Quanah, Texas on April 4, 1943. She was named for her mother.

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.

Judy Buenoano mugshots. Source: United States District Court She was not happy in Roswell. Judy claimed her stepmother and five stepbrothers starved her, burned her with cigarettes and considered her a maid.

Judy finally ended her abuse by scalding two stepbrothers with hot grease. She also beat her parents. A Judge sentenced her to 60 days in jail.

Judias Welty did not go home after her release. She finished high school in a reformatory, graduating in 1959.

Following high school, Judy worked as a nurse’s aide in Roswell, using the name “Anna Schultz.” On March 30, 1961 she gave birth to an illegitimate son, Michael Schultz. Michael’s father is presumed to be Air Force Sergeant Arthur Leroy Schultz.

James and Judy Goodyear

Sergeant James Goodyear. First husband of Judy Goodyear / Buenoano. Source: Death Row Stories. Another Air Force Sergeant married Judy.

Sergeant James Goodyear (shown) married Judy on November 21, 1962. They adopted Michael.

James Goodyear, Junior was born on November 16, 1966.

During the winter of 1966, Sergeant Goodyear was reassigned to the Strategic Air Command Base at the former McCoy Air Force Base (now Orlando International Airport) in Orlando, Florida.

In 1967, Judy gave birth to daughter Kimberly in Orlando.

Following Kimberly’s birth, Judy opened Conway Acres Child Care Center, with James listed as co-owner.

The Honeymoon Ended

Judy Goodyear might have been happy until May 1971.

Her formerly dear husband James returned to Florida in May 1971, after one year in Vietnam.

James passed a physical on June 20. However, he was treated at the McCoy Air Force Base dispensary for stomach pains and chills on September first.

On September 15, 1971 James Goodyear, Senior seemed to die of natural causes.

He came home from Vietnam ill, and he never got well.

It had nothing to do with me. I was not in Vietnam.

Judy Buenoano


Lodell Morris is the mother of Bobby Joe Morris: a later victim.

Ms. Morris testified Judy Buenoano confessed to murdering James Goodyear.

…she had to work her butt off, and every time her back was turned he was in bed with a 13-year-old, and he was no help to her, so she killed the son of a bitch, that he didn’t deserve to live.

Lodell Morris

Of course, this confession makes you wonder why Ms. Morris did not advise her son to run away from Judy Buenoano.

Profitable Murder

The happy widow eventually received $95,000 from James Goodyear’s death: $33,000 from life insurance and $62,000 from the Veterans Administration. Judy would have gotten away with her husband’s murder, but her greed was stimulated by easy money.

Judy also collected an additional $90,000 from a house fire, a few months after her husband’s death. Her payment was increased, because she claimed 150 bottles of Chanel perfume were destroyed in the fire.

Don’t Annoy Judy Buenoano

Bobby Joe Morris, former boyfriend of Judy Buenoano. Source: Death Row Stories
Bobby Joe Morris. Source: Death Row Stories

Judy met boyfriend Bobby Joe Morris in 1973, and moved to Pensacola, Florida. She placed her son Michael Goodyear in foster care, because his academic and disciplinary problems annoyed her.

However, Mr. Morris moved his family from Florida to Trinidad, Colorado in 1977.

Judy and Michael joined Bobby Joe Morris in Colorado, after Judy collected another insurance payment from a house fire.

Judy changed her name to Judias Morris in Colorado, although she did not marry Bobby Morris.

Unsolved Murder

Bobby Joe Morris and Judy were also suspects in a 1974 murder, committed in Bobby Joe’s hometown of Bewston, Alabama.

After the police responded to anonymous tip, they found a corpse with a gunshot wound and a slashed throat in a hotel room. This case was never 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.”

Another Murder for Life Insurance

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

Just like Frank Rodriguez, the hospital released Bobby Joe Morris to his murderer. Following his discharge, Morris survived for one week under Judy’s care. He died on January 23, 1978.

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

Judy also received payments from three life insurance policies on Bobby Joe Morris.

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. The Buenoano family moved to Pensacola, Florida. Michael dropped out of high school in Florida. He joined the Army and completed basic training.

Michael visited his mother on his way to Fort Benning, Georgia. However, Michael was too sick for basic training when he reported for duty. The Army subsequently diagnosed Michael with arsenic poisoning.

Afterward, Michael received heavy arm and leg braces, because the arsenic destroyed his muscles. On May 13, 1980, one day after Michael’s hospital discharge, Judy invited James Junior and Michael, wearing his new leg braces – for a canoe ride on the East River, near Milton, Florida.

Meanwhile, Michael was reportedly looking forward to this boat ride, after an extended hospital stay.

How Did Michael Goodyear Die?

Michael Goodyear first son of Judy Goodyear / Buenoano. Source: Death Row Stories screenshot. Pensacola prosecutor Russell Edgar said Judy had four stories about Michael’s death.

  • He died from chemical warfare.
  • A boat propeller decapitated him.
  • Canoe turned over while they tried to remove a snake.
  • Canoe hit a log.

Finally, one way or the other, their canoe overturned.

James and Judy swam to shore, but Michael drowned in his heavy braces.

Michael’s death eventually provided Judy with the proceeds of three life insurance policies.

I still don’t believe she drowned her son. I saw her cry during the trial.

James Johnston, her attorney.

It wasn’t an accident. The guy was paralyzed. He had 15 pounds of braces on his legs without a life jacket.

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

I suffered over it, and I feel responsible for this death. … It was an accident.

Judy Buenoano
Retired Pensacola Detective Ted Chamberlain at East Lake, where Michael Goodyear drowned. Source: Death Row Stories
Detective Ted Chamberlain at East Lake, where Michael Goodyear drowned. Source: Death Row Stories

Pensacola Detective Ted Chamberlain disagreed with Judy.

She put that boy through a lot before she killed him.

She poisoned him to make him paraplegic.

And the guy ain’t home from the hospital for 24 hours before she drowns him.

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

Judy Buenoano Liked Arsenic

Two of Buenoano’s acquaintances, Constance Lang and Mary Beverly Owens, testified that Buenoano discussed with each of them on separate occasions the subject of killing a person by adding arsenic to his food.

Lang testified that Buenoano had joked on several occasions about lacing her husband’s food with arsenic.

Owens testified that after hearing an upsetting phone call between Owens and her husband, Buenoano suggested that Owens take out more life insurance and then poison him with arsenic.

From Rags to Riches

According to bank records, Judy worked as a licensed practical nurse for $3.50 an hour at the time of Michael’s death. She also bounced several checks during 1979 and 1980.

However, the payments from Michael Goodyear’s life insurance ended Judy’s poverty.

Judy used her insurance payoff to open a beauty salon in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

Judy Buenoano Meets John Wesley Gentry II

James, Kimberly Goodyear. Judias Buenoano, John Gentry. Source: Death Row Stories
James Goodyear Jr., Kimberly Goodyear, Judias Buenoano, John Gentry. Source: Death Row Stories

John Wesley Gentry II was Judy’s next victim.

John Gentry met Judy Buenoano at a Pensacola mud wrestling match. Judy told Gentry she was the former head of nursing at a local hospital, and she operated a beauty business. Gentry owned a wallpaper business.

At the time, I thought she was very sweet and very kind.

John Wesley Gentry II

Gentry moved into Buenoano’s home, six months later.

Secret Life Insurance

Life insurance policy on John Wesley Gentry II. Source: Death Row Stories
Life insurance policy on John Wesley Gentry II. Source: Death Row Stories

John Gentry and Judi Buenoano took out $50,000 life insurance policies on each other, after their engagement. However, Judy secretly increased his policy to $500,000.

Gentry said at one time she had a $500,000 life insurance policy on him. She told him it was canceled, but it wasn’t canceled.

Judy told friends that Gentry had a terminal disease, to prepare them for his death by arsenic poisoning.

Fake Vitamins

Two poisoned vitamin pills given to John Gentry by Judy Buenoano. Source: Death Row Stories
Two poisoned vitamin pills given to John Gentry by Judy Buenoano. Source: Death Row Stories

John Gentry complained about a cold, so Judy gave him fake “Vicon C” vitamins, to relieve his symptoms.

But Gentry said the pills made him dizzy. Judy told Gentry to “double the dose” after he complained.

Gentry testified that Judy became angry when he refused to take her vitamins. However, he saved two pills in his briefcase. The two “vitamins” were later tested by the FBI.

Car Bomb Ends Romance

John Gentry's Car After Bomb Exploded. Source Death Row Stories
John Gentry’s Car After Bomb Exploded. Source Death Row Stories

A car bomb ended this relationship ended on June 25, 1983.

Judy told John she was pregnant. But she was in a restaurant, hosting a party for an employee.

She told Gentry where to meet her, and where to park his car.

After they met, Judy asked Gentry to buy champagne for a celebration. The couple made plans to meet later, at home after Judy’s event.

John Gentry went out to buy champagne, to celebrate. However, his car exploded before the celebration began. Five sticks of dynamite in the trunk almost killed him.

John Gentry was subsequently hospitalized for three months, including one month in an intensive care unit.

Nevertheless, his injuries healed. Three months in a hospital is better than a slow, painful death from paraformaldehyde poisoning or arsenic poisoning.

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

Judy Buenoano. Source Murderpedia. Unfortunately (for Judy), her car bomb did not kill John Gentry.

Saved by a Sun Roof?

I think John Gentry survived because his Florida car had a sun roof. Gentry parked in a garage, and left his sun roof open.

Judy’s Downfall

During his recovery, the police told Gentry that Judy was not a nurse, and she could not get pregnant.

Finally, an examination of John Gentry’s two vitamins revealed arsenic.

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

Dead Men Tell No Lies

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

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

Three Trials

Judy Buenoano reviewing trial notes. Source: Death Row Stories
Judy Buenoano reviewing trial notes. Source: Death Row Stories

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

During one trial, two witnesses testified that Judy admitted killing Michael Goodyear.

She’s like a black widow. She feeds off her mates and her young.

A jury acquitted James Goodyear of John Gentry’s attempted murder. But Judy was guilty.

Judy just went one murder too far. If she’d just let that last boyfriend alone, she probably could have walked away from the other murders.


Handcuffed Judias Buenoano is led by US Marshal. Source: United States District Court.
Handcuffed Judias Buenoano led by US Marshal. Source: United States District Court.

Judy’s sentence was 25 years to life for her son Michael’s murder, and 12 years for bombing John Gentry’s car. But she also received a death sentence for poisoning James Goodyear.

John Gentry and Judias Buenoano. Source: Death Row Stories
John Gentry and Judias Buenoano. Source: Death Row Stories

If they would allow me, I would pull the switch myself.

There are people who are so evil that they really don’t need to be among civilized people.

She preyed upon people that loved her.

John Gentry

Florida’s Faulty Electric Chair

Florida’s electric chair was under scrutiny in 1998.

During Florida’s previous execution, the face mask worn by killer Pedro Martinez emitted foot long flames. The fire filled the execution chamber with smoke, and the witness area with the smell of burned flesh.

People who wish to commit murder, they better not do it in the state of Florida because we may have a problem with our electric chair.

Judy’s daughter Kimberly Hawkins was 3 when her father was killed, and 16 when her mother was arrested. Ms. Hawkins objected to Florida’s electric chair.

I’m fixing to watch my mom die in the electric chair. People have burned alive in it.

I don’t want to see her burned alive in it.

I accept the penalty that she has to die. But we can choose a better way for her to die.


Judy appealed her death sentence on June 23, 1988. However, all of her claims were rejected.

Finally, we reject Buenoano’s assertion that the arsenic poisoning of James Goodyear was not heinous, atrocious or cruel.

The trial court based its finding of aggravation on the fact that Goodyear’s death was not swift and painless, but was the result of Buenoano slowly and methodically poisoning him.

Florida Supreme Court

Judy Buenoano appealed this decision on April 5, 1990. She submitted 20 reasons that her trial and sentence were not fair. But there was too much evidence against her.

Additionally, one witness testified that Buenoano never discussed ending her marriage by divorce, but only discussed solving her marital problems by poisoning her husband.

Still another witness testified that Buenoano advised her not to divorce her husband but to take out a life insurance policy on him and then poison him with arsenic.

Two witnesses testified that Buenoano admitted she killed James Goodyear.

Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court also rejected Judy’s final appeal of her death sentence.

Judy Buenoano had an interesting defense for her third appeal.

Roger Martz

John Gentry gave police two of Judy’s fake Vicon C vitamins for testing.

Police sent these vitamins to the FBI.

Special Agent Roger Martz tested the capsules, and found the poison paraformaldehyde.

Agent Martz is best known for messing up his investigation of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Roger Martz was also criticized after the O.J. Simpson murder trial. A report by the Office of the Inspector General concluded, “Martz poorly represented the Laboratory and the FBI in this case.”

Judy Buenoano claimed Roger Martz also messed up his examination of John Gentry’s vitamins, and framed her.

Where’s the Evidence?

In July 1983, after Gentry’s car exploded, Pensacola Police got search warrants for Judy’s “Faces and Fingers” home-based business, and the rest of her home.

However, police did not find the paraformaldehyde and arsensic poisons.

Therefore, (according to Judy) she had no poison, and Martz switched samples or added the poison to John Gentry’s Vicon C pills.

Unfortunately, Judy Buenoano had no tangible evidence against Roger Martz.

Roger Martz had nothing to do with the investigation of the arsenic poisoning murder of Sgt. James Goodyear.

Roger Martz had nothing to do with the investigation of the drowning death of Michael Goodyear.

Roger Martz had nothing to do with the investigation of the arsenic poisoning death of Bobby Morris.

Judy A. Buenoano, Appelant vs. State of Florida, Appellee

Tainted Juror

First of all, how can an attorney start a murder trial, without performing a simple Web search on the jurors? Nevertheless, like the Scott Peterson trial, a juror’s background was not discovered before the trial started.

Juror Battle did not disclose his conviction for involuntary mansluaghter in another state.

However, he did not lie. Juror Battle answered “Yes” to “Have you or any member of your family ever been accused, complainant, or witness in a criminal case?”

The court decided Ms. Buenoano’s attorney could have found this information, through a diligent search of public records.

Final Decision

In the end, Judy Buenoano did not have new evidence to prove her innocence.

Buenoano has not alleged that any evidence she has received to date as a result of her requests qualifies as newly discovered or that she anticipates documents yet to be produced will contain evidence that she previously could not have obtained.

Florida Supreme Court

Accidental Poisoning?

Finally, Judy did not help herself in court.

During the Gentry trial, Judy admitted that she was familiar with paraformaldehyde, because it is used as a fungicide in beauty salons. The prosecution asked her if she gave the poison to John Gentry.

I did not. If I did, it was an accident.

Judy Buenoano
Judy Buenoano testifies, You don't know what happened on that canoe! Source: Death Row Stories
You don’t know what happened on that canoe! Source: Death Row Stories

Judy denied everything, but every jury convicted her.

I would have found myself guilty if I were the jury.

Judy Buenoano

Despite the overwhelming evidence against her, Judy Buenoano never wavered. 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

Death Sentence

On November 26, 1985 prison guards brought a handcuffed and chained Judy Buenoano before Orange Circuit Judge Emerson Thompson, Jr. for sentencing.

Judy’s Mistakes

I do not understand why Judy did not cremate her victims. Because the exhumed bodies of James and Michael Goodyear were the strongest evidence against Judy.

Additionally, Judy should have abandoned John Gentry after he refused her vitamins. She bought dynamite from a man who also reported it stolen. Telephone records linked her to the dynamite.

Finally, Judy worked best alone. She could buy poison in a hardware store. Judy could also practice poisoning her victims.

She became vulnerable after she enlisted help to bomb Gentry’s car. She also could not practice detonating car bombs. John Gentry also left his sun roof open.

Should This Killer Be Executed?

After a two day sentencing hearing, the jury recommended the death penalty. Judge Thompson followed the jury’s recommendation. He asked Judy for a comment before sentencing.

I didn’t ever kill anybody, Judge Thompson.

I didn’t kill my husband. I didn’t bomb Mr. Gentry’s car. That’s the truth.

I never knowingly harmed anyone in my life. I ask the court to spare my life.

Judy Buenoano

Assistant State Attorney Belvin Perry disagreed with Judy.

What mercy did she show Sergeant Goodyear as he lay there in that bed dying from her hand?

James Goodyear slowly, painfully left this earth, while his loving wife slowly watched him suffer.

She showed no mercy. And I submit to you she deserves no mercy.

Judge Thompson did not explain his sentence.

On the day designated, the death warrant authorizing the execution shall be read to you immediately before execution, and you shall then be electrocuted until you are dead.

Judge Emerson Thompson, Jr.

Life on Death Row

Following her conviction, Judy Buenoano lived on Death Row in the Broward Correctional Institution for 13 years.

In prison, Judy passed a course from International Bible Institute to teach the Bible. She also earned money selling knitted items. Judy used her earnings to mail prayer tracts.

I send tracts and Bible studies all over the world, and it costs! But it’s worth the effort!

Judy Buenoano

54 year old Judy Buenoano was finally executed on March 30, 1998. She declined to make a statement before her execution. It was Florida’s first execution with female guards, escorting an inmate to their execution.

A person this cruel really needs to get what she deserves.

Final Thoughts from Judi Buenoano

July 24, 1989 letter from Judi Buenoano
July 24, 1989 letter from Judi Buenoano

A 29 year old admirer in Rocky Ford, Colorado wrote to 46 year old Judy in 1989.

Judy responded on July 24, 1989.

The recipient wants to sell this letter and envelope. I am not providing a link, although you can deduce it from the image’s watermark.

Judy Lies About Everything

First of all, I do not understand why people send romantic letters to murderers. Drew Peterson gets used to get “a couple a week.”

Let’s start with basic facts.

I’m ½ Australian (?) Commanche ½ white … 5′ 11″ inches tall 150 pounds

According to an archived record from the Florida Department of Corrections, Judy was 5′ 7″ tall and weighed 170 pounds.

Additionally, I could not find any references to an “Australian Commanche” tribe.

Still Planning for a Future?

Judy faced a death sentence, and a successful appeal was unlikely. But she continued to deny everything.

I’ve been here 3 years and before this I never even knew a soul who had been arrested.

It’s been a real experience.

Judy Buenoano


Judy or Judi

I used “Judy” in this article, because I found it more often while searching for information.

However, her given name was Judias, and she signed her letter Judi Buenoano.

In legal documents she was “JUDIAS V. BUENOANO a/k/a JUDY ANN GOODYEAR.” and “JUDY A. BUENOANO.”

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10 thoughts on “Judy Buenoano | The Black Widow

  1. Who raises these types of demonic souls. From Judy B to Kimberly Cargill who is also on death row for murdering my sister. These beings have no soul or conscience.

    1. Hi Renne,
      my name is Dara, Judy B. and her partner Bobby Morris murdered my father. they handcuffed him to a chair and stabbed him slit his throat and shot him in back of the head. so to answer your question about raising evil people I believe they are just born that way. I hear stories of how they had horrible childhoods and they had bad up bringing’s but that is a poor excuse. This Tragedy tour my family apart, and later pretty much divided us. I am truly sorry about your sister. I strongly believe in God and there is a place for those who do such evil things, but forgive them. Forgive her for your own self. It took me 48 years to really forgive so I could make my life better. It’s hard to lose a loved one but it’s harder when they are taken from you.

  2. My father, Ben Sherrod, was the man Morris and Buenoano killed in Brewton, Alabama in 1974. It was the only murder there that year. His case was never officially “solved” but I know she was guilty. My father was tied to a chair before he was stabbed numerous times and shot in the head. Personally, I’m glad Morris died a horrible death and I can only hope that Buenoano was absolutely terrified before she rode the lightning. She got what she deserved.

    1. Our father didn’t deserve what happened. From what I was told by all of you he was a hard working and loving father. Being only 2 that BITCH got what she deserved. She tore our family apart, and lets not forget dads business partner Ed Ball. That SOB was a suspect in our dads murder case but was never brought to justice.

  3. Excellent article. I’m a police detective and am surprised at your research and detail. Keep up the excellent writing.

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