Aileen Wuornos was one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Beginning in 1989 and lasting through 1990, her killing spree left at least seven men dead across the state of Florida. Wuornos claimed the men had raped or attempted to rape her as she worked as a prostitute. She was convicted of six counts of first degree murder in 1992 and received six death sentences. Aileen Wuornos was executed by the state of Florida in 2002.
A Life of Crime
Born in 1956 in Michigan, Aileen Wuornos began her criminal career early, exchanging sex acts for drugs, cigarettes and money when she was 12 years old. At 15 she was thrown out of her grandfather’s house and turned to prostitution to support herself.
Wuornos’ violent behavior was apparent years before her string of murders. She was arrested many times on charges of armed robbery, assault, battery, possession of handguns, and an assortment of other crimes.
Wuornos’ Killing Spree
The first victim of Aileen Wuornos spree of murders was found in December 1989. His body was found several miles from his car in a secluded area in Clearwater, Fla., with two gunshot wounds to the chest. Working as a prostitute, Wuornos would instruct her victims to drive to a secluded area and undress, where upon she would shoot them several times with a small caliber handgun and flee the scene.
Wuornos would claim at trial that she was acting in self-defense after the men had attempted to rape her.
Execution and Legacy
Wuornos became the tenth woman to be executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. She was put to death by lethal injection on October 9, 2002. Her life inspired numerous films and books, most notably the 2003 movie Monster. Charlize Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Aileen Wuornos.
Famous Killers: Aileen Wuornos
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Serial Killers: Famous Serial Killers List.