With two husbands dying within five years of each other, Stacey Castor appeared to be a victim of terrible misfortune and circumstance. In a bizarre twist, the mother of two from upstate New York became the prime suspect in the sensational case of secrets and lies that made national headlines for the murder of her second husband by poisoning him with antifreeze, and the attempted murder of her daughter whom she tried to frame for the deaths of both husbands. Ten years after Stacey’s conviction, ABC News announced a two-hour documentary on the central question – could a mother really be capable of these unspeakable acts against her own family? The prime-time television event on the Black Widow killer digs deeper into how this terrible set of crimes altered lives and this community forever. The special features new interviews with investigators, Stacey’s defense team, and family members of her second husband and victim, David Castor; as well as the exclusive jailhouse interview with Stacey and anchor David Muir from ABC News’ archives. “20/20” airs Friday, Feb. 8 (9:00 – 11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC.
The documentary includes new interviews with Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office Detective Dominick Spinelli and Sgt. Michael Norton, who were the detectives on the case; Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and former Onondaga County Chief Assistant District Attorney Christine Garvey, who prosecuted the case; Chuck Keller, Stacey’s defense attorney; David Castor’s sister, Linda Horzempa, son, David Castor Jr., and first wife, Janice Poissant Farmer; Gabriel Ramos, Keller’s private investigator; WSYR NewsChannel 9 anchor Christie Casciano and senior reporter Jeff Kulikowsky, who reported on this case extensively; and more. The special also features the exclusive interview from ABC News archives with Stacey Castor from prison by anchor David Muir, in addition to Stacey’s mother, Judie Eaton, and daughters Ashley and Bree Wallace.
In 2000, doctors determined that Stacey’s first husband, Michael Wallace, died from a heart attack; and in 2005, the coroner initially ruled that her second husband, David, killed himself by ingesting antifreeze. Detectives were suspicious about David’s death because of forensic evidence and inconsistencies in Stacey’s story, and as a result, placed wiretaps on her phones and monitored her movements. In 2007, investigators exhumed Michael’s body; and the medical examiner determined he died, not of a heart attack, but of antifreeze poisoning. When Stacey called 9-1-1 claiming her daughter Ashley had poisoned herself with pills and vodka, and that there was a typed suicide note claiming responsibility for killing her dad and stepdad, authorities became suspicious that Stacey tried to kill her daughter and frame her for the deaths. Soon after, they arrested Stacey at the hospital where Ashley was recuperating. “20/20” and Muir followed the case and trial for 18 months, obtaining exclusive access to both sides of the case as they prepared for trial. In 2009, the jury convicted Stacey of murdering her second husband, attempting to murder her own daughter Ashley, and filing a fraudulent will to inherit David’s estate. The judge sentenced her to the maximum penalty of 51 1/3 years to life in state prison. She died in prison in 2016 from what officials ruled to be a heart attack.
The Black Widow killer documentary is part of 12 weeks of two-hour “20/20” programming featuring brand-new interviews with key players in some of the biggest newsmaker stories in recent American history. Each documentary takes a look at these cases through a modern lens, challenges original perceptions and sheds new light on each story.
David Muir and Amy Robach are co-anchors of “20/20,” and David Sloan is senior executive producer.