Tag Archives: execution

1998 Florida Execution of Judy Buenoano

I saw this story recently on Forensic Files or some such program.  Despite the bizarre set of facts and that this took place in Florida, I didn’t remember anything at all about it.  So I made a mental note to find out more about the case when I had the time. Now that the election is over, this was a welcome change of subject, unpleasant as it may be.  Information is kind of sketchy.  Where is Ann Rule when you need her?  But I guess there’s no one left to interview.

Beginning at the end of the story, fifty-four-year-old Judy Buenoano, known as the “Black Widow,” was executed in Florida’s electric chair Monday, March 13, 1998, for poisoning her husband in 1971.  At the time, she was the first woman executed in Florida since 1848.


This woman was a piece of work.  Her deception began to unravel in 1983, when her fiance, John Gentry survived a car bombing attack in downtown Pensacola.   He survived — and Judy had a problem.  During the investigation of the bombing, Gentry told police that Judy had been giving him “vitamins” that made him sick, later discovered to contain arsenic and formaldehyde.

This  started an investigation into Judy’s past, uncovering the following:

1.  In 1971, she was married to James Goodyear (1934-1971), a sergeant in the USAF. 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.

2.  In 1973, she moved in with Bobby Joe Morris in January of 1978, he succumbed. Later that year, she legally changed her name to “Buenoano” (Spanish for “good year”).

3.  This is the most chilling.  Judy’s son Michael Goodyear 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.  But in 1980, she took Michael out for a little canoe ride, the canoe rolled over, and Michael, weighed down by his arm and leg braces, drowned.

4.  Then comes the car bombing of fiance John Gentry.  When the vitamins she had been giving him turned out to contain arsenic and formaldehyde, this led to the exhumation of the aforementioned James Goodyear, Michael Goodyear, and Bobby Joe Morris.  Each of them had been the victim of arsenic poisoning.

5.  She was also suspected in the 1980 death of her boyfriend Gerald Dossett. After her arrest, Dossett’s body was exhumed and analysed for signs of arsenic poisoning. No charges were laid in that case.

She was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the car bombing, and Gentry’s story about the vitamins led investigators to uncover a series of crimes against her family.

In 1984, a jury convicted Buenoano of killing her partially paralyzed 19-year-old son, Michael Goodyear, and sentenced her to life in prison. Prosecutors say she gave four different versions of what happened, but that she pushed him out of a canoe near Pensacola’s East River in 1980.

At trial, the prosecutor said, “It wasn’t an accident. The guy was paralyzed.”  “He had 15 pounds of braces on his legs without a life jacket. He was taken up the river in a canoe and basically pitched out.”

She received the death penalty for the murder of her husband, James Goodyear.

Her 13 years on Florida’s death row were spent writing letters, crocheting blankets and baby clothes, and maintaining her innocence.

You can’t make it up.

Posted:  11.15.08


Filed under Courts, crime, Human Interest, law and order, life, Uncategorized

Florida Prepares For Execution on Tuesday (Updated)

Florida has set the execution of Mark Schwab, — again.

Mark Dean Schwab

Mark Dean Schwab had only been out of prison for one short month before he raped and murdered his next victim, an 11-year-old elementary school child, in 1991.  He had gotten an early release from a prison sentence he got for raping a 13-year-old boy.

Junny Rios-Martinez was a  Florida sixth-grader who liked baseball and surfing.   Junny also liked to fly kites, which earned him a picture and short article in Florida Today, a Brevard County newspaper, after he won a kite-flying contest.

After seeing this in the paper, Schwab posed as a photographer who wanted to do another article and in so doing gained the trust of Junny and his family.  Junny’s parents did not know Dean was really Mark Dean Schwab, a child molester who had served time for sodomizing a 13-year-old boy at knife point.

About 10 days later, Schwab called Junny’s school  and pretended to be his father telling Junny to meet him at a nearby baseball field.  When the boy arrived, he found Schwab driving a U-Haul and willingly got into the truck.

Junny Rios-Martinez

Schwab took the boy to a hotel room and bound him with duct tape. Then he cut the crying boy’s clothes off with a knife, raped him, then killed him. Schwab stuffed Junny’s body into a footlocker he’d bought at K-Mart earlier that day and hid the trunk in some woods.

Schwab was sentenced to death in the 1991 slaying of Junny Rios-Martinez, but the execution was delayed by appeals. On Nov. 14, Schwab’s execution was delayed until the U.S. Supreme Court decided whether lethal injection is constitutional. In April, the court ruled it is, and in May, Gov. Charlie Crist ordered that Schwab be executed.

His execution marks Florida’s first state killing since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that the commonly used, three-drug lethal cocktail is not cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.

Schwab’s execution is now set for Tuesday, July 1, 2008, barring any last minute reprieves.

We always hear a lot about the person to be executed, many times in sympathetic terms because it’s never a happy time, but I think we should take a good long look at the picture of Junny before we feel too sorry for Mark Dean Schwab.   Junny is the one who was tortured, raped, and murdered.  Junny hasn’t breathed another breath since April 18th of 1991.

Let’s Just Remember Junny.



RAIFORD– Florida’s first execution in more than 18 months happened without a hitch Tuesday, as the state put to death a man who raped and killed an 11-year-old boy.

Mark Dean Schwab, 39, was executed by lethal injection shortly after 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison near Starke. He was sentenced to death in the 1991 kidnapping, rape and murder of Junny Rios-Martinez of Cocoa.



Filed under Church, Courts, Law, law and order, life, politics, Uncategorized