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Florida woman dies in electric chair

Judy Buenoano, the "Black Widow" who poisoned her husband, drowned her paralyzed son and tried to blow up her fiance, was executed in the electric chair Monday.

She was the first woman put to death in Florida since 1848, and only the third woman executed in the nation since 1976.Guards helped the frail-looking Buenoano, 54, walk into the death chamber at 7:02 a.m. Barely filling the seat of the large oaken chair, she was strapped in and asked if she had a final statement.

"No, sir," she answered weakly, squeezing her eyes shut and keeping them shut, not looking at the witnesses on the other side of a glass partition.

The power was turned on at 7:08 a.m. Smoke curled up from her right leg throughout the 38-second electrocution. She was pronounced dead at 7:13 a.m.

Buenoano, a former nail salon owner, was executed for the arsenic poisoning of her husband in 1971. Prosecutors said she committed that murder for the same reasons she killed her son in 1980 and tried to kill her fiance in 1983 - insurance money. She also was suspected of killing a boyfriend in 1978 but was never charged because she had already been sentenced to die.

The last woman executed in Florida was a 30-year-old slave named Celia who was hanged for killing her owner, who historians think was probably also her father.

Only two other women had been executed since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban on the death penalty in 1976, and both were by injection.

In 1984, North Carolina executed Velma Barfield for poisoning her boyfriend. Last month, Texas put Karla Faye Tucker to death for a double-pickax murder. Tucker was a telegenic, avowed Christian who ministered to her fellow inmates, expressed contrition for her crimes and even received support from the pope.

Buenoano crocheted blankets and baby clothes in prison and said she wanted to be remembered as a good mother. She adamantly maintained her son's drowning was an accident.

"Seeing the face of Jesus, that's what I think about," she recently told a Florida television station. "I'm ready to go home."