ORLANDO, Fla. — The "Black Widow" killer won a temporary stay of execution from a federal judge Thursday, just four hours before she was to go to the electric chair for poisoning her husband.
U.S. District Judge Patricia Fawsett blocked the scheduled 12:01 p.m. execution of Judi Buenoano at Florida State Prison in order to hear arguments on whether the state's electric chair can malfunction and cruelly torture a prisoner.
The defense contends it can, citing the state's botched execution May 4 of Jesse Tafero. Flames and smoke shot out from under Tafero's hood, and witnesses said he seemed to breathe and move after two of the three jolts he was given.
Prosecutors nicknamed Buenoano the "Black Widow" because of her record of trying, in most cases successfully, to kill the men in her life. She was condemned for the fatal poisoning of her husband but was also convicted of drowning her paralyzed 19-year-old son and trying to kill a boyfriend with a bomb.
Buenoano's case was taken to federal court after the state Supreme Court voted 4 to 3 Wednesday to reject the appeal.