Aileen Carol Wuornos was an American female serial killer who was born on February 29, 1956 and died on October 9, 2002. She claimed that she killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990 in self-defense. She stated that all the men tried to rape her or actually raped her when she was a prostitute and their deaths was a result of her trying to defend herself. The court found her guilty to murdering six of her allegedly seven victims and sentenced her with the death penalty. The State of Florida executed her death sentence on October 9, 2002 with lethal injection.
Aileen Wuornos was born in Rochester, Michigan, on February 29, 1956, and her birth name was Aileen Carol Pittman. Her mother Diane Wuornos married Aileen’s father Leo Dale Pittman on June 3, 1954 when she was only 14 years old. Aileen has an older brother Keith, who was born in March of 1955. Aileen’s mother filed for divorce with Leo two months before Aileen was born. Leo was in jail when Aileen was born, and they never met each other. Leo was a schizophrenic who hanged himself on January 30, 1969 in jail years after he was convicted of sexual crimes with children. Aileen’s grandparents Lauri and Britta Wuornos legally adopted Aileen and her brother on March 18, 1960 after their mother abandoned them in January of 1960. Aileen became a handful by the age of 11 where she would offer sexual engagement in return for food, cigarettes and food while in school - she had a sexual relationship with her brother as well. Aileen claims that her grandfather was an alcoholic man that would force her to take her clothes off, sexually molested her and then he would beat her. Aileen became pregnant at the age of 13 after her grandfather’s friend raped her in 1970. The baby was placed for adoption after she gave birth to her baby at a home for unwed mothers. Aileen’s grandmother died from liver failure a few months after Aileen gave birth and, as a result, Aileen dropped out from school. Soon after her child molesting grandfather threw her out of the house, and she turned to prostitution to support herself at the age of 15.
Aileen’s life between 1974 - 1988
May 27, 1974 - Aileen was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), firing shots from a .22 caliber gun while the vehicle was moving and disorderly conduct in Jefferson County, Colorado. Aileen never appeared in court and was charged with failure to appear.
May 1976 - Aileen met her future husband Lewis Gratz Fell after hitchhiking to Florida from Colorado. Yacht club president Lewis (69 years old) and Aileen married each other soon after and announced their marriage in the local newspaper. Not too long after being happily married, she was sent to jail for being involved in problems at the local bar and for assault. It was one problem after the next. Lewis issued a restraining order against his wife after she hit him over the head with his cane.
July 14, 1976 - Aileen threw a cue ball at a bartender’s head and was arrested for assault and disturbing the peace in Antrim County, Michigan.
July 17, 1976 - Aileen received $10,000 from her brother Keith’s life insurance after he died from esophageal cancer.
July 21, 1976 - Aileen and Lewis annulled their marriage after being married for only nine weeks.
May 20, 1981 - Aileen was armed when she robbed a convenience store for $35 and two packs of cigarettes. She was arrested in Edgewater, Florida for the robbery and was sentenced to prison on May 4, 1982 and released on June 30, 1983.
May 1, 1984 - Aileen tried to cash forged checks at a bank in Key West and was arrested.
November 30, 1985 - Aileen stayed in the spotlight of crimes by being named in Pasco County as a suspect for stealing a revolver and ammunition.
January 4, 1986 - Aileen was convicted of stealing a car, resisting arrest and false identity because she provided the officer with her aunts ID in Miami. The officers found a .38-caliber revolver and ammunition and arrested her in Miami
June 2, 1986 - Aileen was questioned by deputy sheriffs from Volusia County, Florida for pointing a gun at a male in a car and demanding $200. The sheriff found a .22 pistol under her passenger seat where she was seated and ammunitions.
July 4, 1987 - Aileen and her new girlfriend Tyria Moore were questioned by Daytona Beach police regarding them being accused of assaulting someone with a beer bottle. Aileen had met hotel maid Tyria at a gay bar in Daytona. They moved in together soon after and Aileen took care of her and paid for everything with money from prostitution.
March 12, 1988 - Daytona Beach bus driver was accused by Aileen of assault by pushing her off of his bus after a confrontation with her. Aileen’s girlfriend Tyria was listed as a witness to the assault.
Aileen Wuornos Murders
November 30, 1989 - Electronics store owner Richard Mallory (age 51) in Clearwater, Florida. Richard was a convicted rapist, and Aileen claims that she killed in self-defense. Deputy Sheriff from Volusia County found Richard’s car two days later with no one in it. Aileen was charged with killing Richard after his body was found in a wooded area on December 13. Aileen shot Richard several times, but the two bullets that hit his lung was the bullets that killed him.
June 1, 1990 - Construction worker David Spears (age 43) in Winter Garden, Florida. David was found with six bullet holes in his naked body on Highway 19 in Citrus County, Florida.
May 31, 1990 - Part-time rodeo worker Charles Carskaddon (age 40) in Florida. Charles’ dead body was found on June 6, 1990 in Pasco County, Florida with nine bullets holes from a small caliber gun.
June 1990 - Retired merchant seaman Peter Siems (age 65) in Florida. Peter left Jupiter, Florida and was heading to New Jersey after devoting a huge chunk of his time to Christian outreach ministry. Peter’s car was found on July 4, 1990 in Orange Springs, Florida with Peter nowhere to be found. Witnesses saw Aileen and Tyria leaving the car, and Aileen’s palm print was later found on the inside door handle.
July 31, 1990 - Sausage salesman Troy Burress (age 50) from Ocala, Florida. Troy was reported missing on July 31, 1990, and his body was found on August 4, 1990 with two bullet holes along State Road 19 in Marion County, Florida in a wooded area.
September 11, 1990 - Retired U.S. Air Force Major Charles Dick Humphreys (age 56) was also a former State Child Abuse Investigator and Chief of Police. Charles’ body was found fully clothed with six bullets hole distributed to his head and torso on September 12, 1990 in Marion County, Florida. His car was later found in Suwannee County, Florida.
November 19, 1990 - Police Reservist Walter Jeno Antonio (age 62) in Florida. Jeno’s almost naked body that was shot four times and found in Dixie County, Florida along a remote logging road. Police found Jeno’s car in Brevard County, Florida five days after his body.
July 4, 1990 - Aileen and Tyria was involved in an accident with Peter Siems’ car and abandoned the car shortly after. Nearby witnesses gave police officers the names of the females that was in the car at the time of the accident and a description of them. Police later found items belonging to Peter in a nearby pawn shop after a media campaign went into effect to find them. The officers took the fingerprints that were found on the pawned items and from Peter’s car and match them to fingerprints that were already in Florida precinct records. The fingerprints were a perfect match to Aileen Wuornos.
January 9, 1991 - Aileen was arrested at a biker bar, The Last Resort in Volusia County on an outstanding warrant. Police officers found Tyria Moore in Scranton, Pennsylvania the following day. Tyria made an agreement with the officers that she would get Aileen to confess if they give her immunity from prosecution. The officers took Tyria back to Florida and put her to stay in a motel under police surveillance. Tyria made numerous phone calls with the police there to Aileen begging her to confess to the crimes so that her (Tyria) name can be cleared of all charges.
January 16, 1991 - Three days later after speaking to Tyria, Aileen confessed to the murders and stated that the men had attempted to rape her, and she acted in self-defense when she killed them.
January 14, 1992 - Aileen was on trial for the murder of Richard Mallory. Florida’s Williams Rule lets prosecutors use evidence from related crimes that she committed to show a pattern of her murders and who she is.
January 27, 1992 - Aileen was found guilty of murdering Richard Mallory with the help of Tyria Moore’s testimony. The psychiatrists for her defense testified that Aileen was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder and was mentally unstable.
The defense attorney tried to provide evidence that Richard Mallory was a rapist and had been tried for intent to commit rape in Maryland. They also stated that he was incarcerated at a maximum security correctional facility in Maryland that provided service to sexual offenders. The correctional facility provided records showing Richard treated and observed from 1958 to 1962 for criminal charges pertaining to assault and attempt to rape. The records also showed that Richard received a total of eight years of treatment from the correctional facility. The judge did not allow the defense to submit any evidence in court regarding Richard and everything said about Richard was dismissed.
January 31, 1992 - The court sentenced Aileen Wuornos to the death sentence.
March 31, 1992 - Aileen said that she wanted to "get right with God" and pleaded guilty to the murders of Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, and David Spears. She stated "I wanted to confess to you that Richard Mallory did violently rape me as I’ve told you; but these others did not. They only began to start to."
May 15, 1992 - Aileen was given three more death sentences after her trial on March 31, 1992.
June 1992 - Aileen received her fifth death sentence after pleading guilty to murdering Charles Carskaddon in November 1992.
February 1993 - Aileen was sentenced to death again after pleading guilty to murdering Walter Jeno Antonio.
Aileen received six death sentences in all because she was not charged for the disappearance/murder of Peter Siems because his body was never found. Aileen could not keep all of her stories straight about the murders and therefore her stories were inconsistent. She first said that all of her victims died because of self-defense when they raped her (separate murders) during her prostitution days. During an interview one day with Nick Broomfield, Aileen thought the cameras were off and told him that she killed her victims because of self-defense and that she did not want to be on death row any longer. She was then currently on death for ten years and gave up to the point where she wanted to be dead.
Aileen Wuornos Execution
Aileen was sentenced to jail/death row for women at the Florida Department of Corrections Broward Correctional Institution. Aileen appealed her case to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996 but she was denied a hearing. She appealed to the Florida Supreme Court to fire her legal counsel and to stop all appeals because she will not be making any more appeals. She told the Florida Supreme Court "I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again, too. There’s no chance in keeping me alive or anything, because I’d kill again. I have hate crawling through my system…I am so sick of hearing this ‘she’s crazy’ stuff. I’ve been evaluated so many times. I’m competent, sane, and I’m trying to tell the truth. I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again." Three psychiatrists affirmed that she was not sane, and execution of her should be carried out after an attorney argued that Aileen is not sane, and her appeal should not be listened to.
Aileen claimed that some officers on duty were abusing her and threatened to stop showering and taking food trays when certain officers were working. Aileen said the officers are tainting her food, spitting on it, cooked her potatoes in dirt, and giving her food with urine. She also claimed that the officers would perform strip searches on her and handcuff her hands tightly so that her wrists would easily bruise whenever she left her cell. Aileen stated that she heard the officers talking about her "trying to get me so pushed over the brink by them I’d wind up committing suicide before the execution" and "wishing to rape me before execution." "cat calling ... in distaste and a pure hatred towards me." "In the meantime, my stomach’s growling away and I’m taking showers through the sink of my cell."
Aileen’s final interview before her death - she said that, at BCI (Broward Correctional Institution), she was being tortured and so was her mind. She claimed that she was abused and each time she said something about it; the abuse would get worse than the last time. She said that BCI was trying to make her look insane. She said that she was ready to leave and ‘The Angels and Jesus Christ would be there’ and that when she died it would be "being taken away to meet God and Jesus and the angels and whatever is beyond the beyond." In an interview with Nick Broomfield, she told him "You sabotaged my ass! Society, and the cops, and the system! A raped woman got executed, and was used for books and movies and shit!"
Her final words that were not caught on camera was "Thanks a lot, society, for railroading my ass." Dawn Botkins met Nick the day before the execution and told him "She’s sorry, Nick. She didn’t give you the finger. She gave the media the finger, and then the attorneys the finger. And she knew if she said much more, it could make a difference on her execution tomorrow, so she just decided not to."
October 9, 2002 - Aileen was brought into the death chamber and asked what she would like her last meal to be. She replied that she would only like a cup of black coffee. Aileen’s last words before she was executed were, "Yes, I would just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back, like Independence Day with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I’ll be back, I’ll be back." Aileen died at 9:47 a.m. on October 2, 2002 in Florida State Prison, Florida. The Supreme Court removed the ban on capital punishment in 1976 which made Aileen the tenth female to be executed in the United States.
After Aileen Wuornos Died
Dawn Botkins spread Aileen’s cremated ashes beneath a tree in Michigan. Upon dying, Aileen requested that song “Carnival” by Natalie Merchant to be played at her funeral. The song was played during the credits of Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer and the composer were questioned as to why she would let her song be played for a serial killer. Natalie gave permission for her song to be in the documentary because she felt sympathy for Aileen and the life she led from childhood to her first kill. Natalie was touched when she heard that Aileen played her album Tigerlily while on death row for hours.
Aileen Wuornos Books
- FBI profiler Robert K. Ressler wrote about Aileen Wuornos briefly in his 1992 autobiographical book about his 20 years history with the FBI. Robert usually does not write about female serial killers but Aileen was an exception.
- Journalist Sue Russell wrote a book in 2002 about Wuornos titled Lethal Intent.
- Lisa Kester and Daphne Gottlieb wrote, “Dear Dawn: Aileen Wuornos in Her Own Words” in 2012 after editing several letters written over a ten-year period. The letters were from Aileen to her childhood friend Dawn Botkins.
Aileen Wuornos Documentaries
- Nick Broomfield directed: Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1993) and
Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)
- Aileen Wuornos was portrayed in TV series American Justice "Death Row Prostitute: Aileen Wuornos"
- Aileen Wuornos was the subject and portrayed in an episode of TV series Biography.
- Aileen Wuornos was in Deadly Women episode "Predators."
- Monster (movie 2003) is a chronicle of Aileen’s life/struggles from childhood to her first murder conviction. Monster earned Charlize Theron an Academy Award for Best Actress for playing Aileen Wuornos.
- Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story ((TV movie 1992)
- Composer Carla Lucero wrote an opera titled Wuornos about Aileen Wuornos that was produced by the Jon Sims Center for the Performing Arts and conducted by Mary Chun.
The opera was premiered at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on June 22, 2001.
- Jewel ("Nicotine Love")
- New York-based Metalcore band It Dies Today "Sixth of June"
- Poet Doron Braunshtein wrote a poem called "Aileen Wuornos" that was published in his spoken word CD The Obsessive Poet in 2011.
- Poet Rima Banerji wrote, "Sugar Zero" that is dedicated to Aileen Wuornos.
Famous Killers: Aileen Wuornos
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