Stacey Castor, also known as the “Black Widow”, killed two of her husbands and then tried to murder her daughter. The Lifetime movie Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story will tell the story. The movie airs Feb. 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
Castor wanted people to believe that she was the victim of terrible tragedies. She spun the tale that her first husband died of a heart attack, and her second husband had died by poisoning himself with antifreeze, and then her daughter also attempted to kill herself.
Now, police say that all of that was a lie and Castor was actually a “Black Widow” and a cold-blooded killer. Castor was convicted in 2009, and she was sentenced to 51 years in prison.
The Story Starts in 1990
Castor married her first husband, Michael Wallace. Together, they had two daughters, Ashley and Bree.
During their relationship, they worked opposite shifts. Castor worked as an ambulance dispatcher during the day, and Wallace worked as a mechanic during the evenings. Later, in a 2009 interview with ABC News, Castor would reveal that Wallace struggled with drugs and alcohol for much of his life.
In late 1999, Wallace got sick enough that he sought medical attention. At the time, the doctor sent him home, citing that he may be feeling ill from an inner ear disorder.
Family members remember that Wallace had been acting unsteady, coughing, and he seemed swollen. He died just weeks later; Ashley, who was then 11, had been alone with him at the time of his death and blamed herself.
2003 to 2005
In 2003, Castor married David Castor, whose last name she took. At the time, David owned an air conditioning installation and repair company where Stacey served as the office manager.
In August 2005, Castor put in a call to the local sheriff’s office to report that David had locked himself in the bathroom for an entire day following an argument. She said that he was not responding to his cell phone. When he did not show up to work, she called, claiming that he was depressed.
When police arrived and could not get a response from David, they kicked in the door of the bathroom, where they found David lying dead on the floor. Near his body, they found a container of antifreeze and a half-full glass of bright green liquid.
2005 to 2006
Soon after the death of her second husband, police began wiretapping Castor’s house. They listened in to phone calls and set up cameras overlooking both her house and her husbands’ gravesites. The two had been buried side-by-side. Castor never visited the graves.
After not getting much from the wiretappings or the cameras, police had Wallace’s body exhumed. The toxicology screening ruled that he had also been killed through antifreeze poisoning.
By September 2007, evidence was beginning to pile up against Castor. She reportedly began to panic after learning that police had exhumed Wallace’s body, finding traces of antifreeze in his system. That’s when it is believed that she devised a plan to set up her daughter Ashley for the murders.
On September 7, police brought Castor in for questioning. According to an ABC News article, during that interview, Castor had a slip of the tongue, almost saying she poured anti-freeze into a glass. After the detective questioned her about it, she accused him of trying to frame her.
A few days later, the police visited Ashley at her college to question her about the death of her father and her stepdad. Upset, Ashley called her mom, who she said was her best friend at the time. Her mom urged her to come home to Liverpool to go out for a drink together and relax, and Ashley agreed.
The women drank together at home the next day as well. Ashley said that her mother gave her a “nasty-tasting” drink that she first refused but ended up drinking because she trusted her mother. Only seventeen hours later, Ashley was found unconscious by her sister Bree Wallace.
Castor made the 911 call, and Bree found a “suicide note” beside Ashley with what appeared to be a murder confession. In the note was an apparent admission to killing her father and stepfather. Castor took the note away and gave it to paramedics.
Later, tests revealed that painkillers were found in Ashley’s system, and Ashley would be dead if she hadn’t gotten to the hospital on time. After she woke up, Ashley was questioned about the note found beside her, and she said the last thing she remembered was her mom making her an alcoholic drink, which she had never done before. She told officers she did not write the note and was confused about their questions.
Arrest and Trial Timeline
In 2007, Castor was arrested for second degree murder in Wallace’s death and the attempted murder of Ashley. She was also charged with trying to frame Ashley for the murders. Prosecutors said that the “suicide note” found with Ashley was written by Castor on the computer. It’s also of note that Ashley was only 11 years old at the time of her father’s death.
During the trial, it was argued that David Castor did not kill himself. The evidence included the lack of fingerprints on the glass or container tainted with the anti-freeze and a turkey baster found in the kitchen garbage containing the poisonous substance and his DNA, which suggested he was force-fed antifreeze.
Prosecutors noted money as one of the reasons Castor murdered her husbands. She was able to collect on their life insurance and estates, and she had changed David’s will to exclude his son from a previous marriage before his death.
Prosecutors also found drafts of Ashley’s “Suicide Note” on Castor’s computer and proved that the note was written while Ashley was in school.
On February 5, 2009, Castor was found guilty of second degree murder in the poisoning death of David and also of attempted second-degree murder for overdosing Ashley with drugs and vodka.
On March 5, 2009, Castor was sentenced to the maximum 25 years to life in prison for the murder of David Castor and to another 25 years on top of that for the attempt to kill Ashley. She was sentenced to another 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for forging David’s will.
Under New York sentencing guidelines, Castor would have to serve over 51 years before she became eligible for parole. Her first possible release date was June 15, 2055, a month shy of her 88th birthday.