Aileen Carol Wuornos (February 29, 1956 – October 9, 2002) was a serial killer who killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. She later
claimed they raped or attempted to rape her while she was working as a prostitute. She was convicted and sentenced to death for six of the
murders, and executed via lethal injection on October 9, 2002.
Her mother, Diane Pratt, was 15 years old when she married Leo Dale Pittman on June 3, 1954. Less than two years into marriage and two
months before Wuornos was born, Pratt filed for divorce. Pittman was a child molester, who spent most of his life in and out of prison. Wuornos
never met her father, as he was imprisoned for the rape and attempted murder of a 7-year-old girl at the time of her birth. Leo Pittman hanged
himself in prison in 1969. In January 1960, Pratt abandoned her children, leaving them with their maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta
Wuornos. They were legally adopted on March 18, 1960 by the Wuornoses and took their surname.
From a young age, Wuornos engaged in sex with multiple partners, including her own brother. At the age of 13, she became pregnant, claiming
the pregnancy was a result of being raped by an unknown man. Wuornos gave birth at a Detroit home for unwed mothers on March 23, 1971. The
child, a son, was placed for adoption. On July 7, 1971 Britta Wuornos died of liver failure, after which Wuornos and her brother became wards of
the court. At age 15, Wuornos was kicked out of her home by her grandfather and entered into prostitution.
Early criminal career
On May 27, 1974, Wuornos was arrested in Jefferson County, Colorado for drunk driving, disorderly conduct, and firing a .22-caliber pistol from a
moving vehicle. She was later charged with failure to appear.
* Charles Carskaddon, 40 – May 31, 1990: Carskaddon was a part-time rodeo worker. His body was found June 6, 1990, in Pasco County. He had
been shot nine times with a small caliber weapon.
* Peter Siems, 65: Siems left Jupiter, traveling to New Jersey in June 1990. His car was found in Orange Springs on July 4, 1990. Tyria Moore and
Aileen Wuornos were identified as being the persons who left the car where it was found. A palm print belonging to Wuornos was found on the
interior door handle. His body was never found.
Capture and sentencing
Wuornos and Moore abandoned Peter Siems' car after they were involved in an accident on July 4, 1990, after which Wuornos' palm print was
campaign to locate them. Police also found some of the victims' belongings in pawnshops and retrieved fingerprints, which matched those found in
the victims' cars and on Wuornos' arrest record.
On January 9, 1991, Wuornos was arrested on an outstanding warrant at The Last Resort, a biker bar in Volusia County. Police located Moore the
next day in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She agreed to get a confession from Wuornos in exchange for prosecutorial immunity Moore returned with
police to Florida, where she was put up in a motel. Under police guidance, Moore made numerous telephone calls to Wuornos, pleading for help in
clearing her name. Three days later, on January 16, 1991, Wuornos confessed to the murders. She claimed the men had tried to rape her and she
killed them in self-defense.
Wuornos went to trial for the murder of Richard Mallory on January 14, 1992. Wuornos was convicted for Richard Mallory's murder on January 27,
1992 with help from Moore's testimony. At her sentencing, psychiatrists for the defense testified that Wuornos was mentally unstable and had
been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She was sentenced to death on January 31, 1992.
Richard Mallory, 51 – November 30, 1989: Wuornos' first victim was an electronics store owner in Clearwater, a convicted rapist whom she found
until December 13, several miles away in a wooded area. He had been shot several times.
* Charles Humphreys, 56 – May 19, 1990: Humphreys was a retired Air Force major, a former child abuse investigator for the state of Florida and
former police chief. His body was found on September 12, 1990. He was fully clothed, and was shot six times in the head and torso. His car was
found in Suwannee County.
* David Spears, 43: Spears was a Winter Garden construction worker whose nude body was found on June 1, 1990, along Highway 19 in Citrus
County. He had been shot six times.
* Troy Burress, 50 – July 30, 1990: Burress was a sausage salesman from Ocala. He was reported missing on July 31, 1990 but was not found
until August 4, 1990 in a wooded area along State Road 19 in Marion County. He had been shot twice.
* Walter Jeno (Gino) Antonio, 62 – November 19, 1990: Antonio's nearly nude body was found on November 19, 1990 near a remote logging road
in Dixie County. He had been shot four times. His car was found in Brevard County five days later.
Defense made efforts during the trial to introduce evidence that Mallory had been tried for intent to commit rape in another state, and that he had
been committed to a maximum security correctional facility in Maryland which provided remediation to sexual offenders. Records obtained admitted
in court as evidence and denied Wuornos' request for a retrial.
Wuornos' appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied in 1996. In 2001, she announced that she would not issue any further appeals against
her death sentence. She petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for the right to fire her legal counsel and stop all appeals, saying, "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
During the final stages of the appeal process she gave a series of interviews to Broomfield. In her final interview
shortly before her execution she claimed that her mind was being controlled by "sonic pressure" to make her appear
crazy and described her impending death to being taken away by angels on a space ship. When Broomfield
attempted to get her to speak about her earlier claims to have killed her victims in self-defense, Wuornos became
livid, cursed Broomfield, and terminated the interview. Broomfield later met Dawn Botkins, a childhood friend of
Wuornos', who told him, "She's sorry, Nick. She didn't give you the finger. She gave the media the finger, and then so
she just decided not to."
Continually involved herself in confrontations at their local bar and was eventually sent to jail for assault. She also hit Fell with his own cane,
leading him to get a restraining order against her, after which she returned to Michigan.
On July 14, 1976, Wuornos was arrested in Antrim County, Michigan and charged with assault and disturbing the peace following an incident in
which she threw a cue ball at a bartender's head. On July 17, her brother Keith died of throat cancer and Wuornos acquired $10,000 from his life
insurance. Wuornos and Fell divorced on July 21 after nine weeks of marriage.
On May 20, 1981, Wuornos was arrested in Edgewater, Florida for the armed robbery of a convenience store. She was consequently sentenced to
prison on May 4, 1982 and released on June 30, 1983. On May 1, 1984, Wuornos was again arrested, this time for attempting to pass forged
checks at a bank in Key West. On November 30, 1985, she was named as a suspect in the theft of a revolver and ammunition in Pasco County.
On January 4, 1986, Wuornos was arrested in Miami and charged with grand theft auto, resisting arrest and obstruction by false information.
Miami police found a .38-caliber revolver and a box of ammunition in the stolen car. On June 2, 1986, Volusia County deputies detained Wuornos
for questioning after a male companion accused her of pulling a gun in his car and demanding $200. Wuornos was found to be carrying spare
ammunition and a .22 pistol was discovered beneath the passenger seat she occupied.
Around this time, Wuornos met Tyria Moore, a hotel maid, at a lesbian bar in Daytona Beach, FL. They eventually moved in together, and Wuornos
supported them with her prostitution earnings. On July 4, 1987, Daytona Beach police detained Wuornos and Moore at a bar for questioning
regarding an incident in which they were accused of assault and battery with a beer bottle.
against her for the murder of Peter Siems, as his body was never found. In all, she received six death sentences.
Wuornos' stories about the killings were inconsistent. She claimed initially that all seven men had raped her while she was working as a prostitute
then later recanted the claim of self-defense. During an interview with filmmaker Nick Broomfield in which she thought the cameras were off, she
told him that it was in fact self-defense, but she could not stand being on death row—12 years at that point—and had to die.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush instructed three psychiatrists to give Wuornos a 15-minute interview. The test for
competency requires the psychiatrist to be convinced that the condemned person understands that they will die and
for which crime they are being executed. All three judged her mentally fit to be executed.
conversations about "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." She also complained of strip searches, being handcuffed,
extreme water pressure, mildew on her mattress and "cat calling ... In distaste and a pure hatred towards me."
Wuornos threatened to boycott showers and food trays when specific officers were on duty. "In the meantime, my
stomach's growling away and I'm taking showers in the sink of my cell."
Her attorney stated that "Ms. Wuornos really just wants to have proper treatment, humane treatment until the day she's executed."
Wuornos was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002. She was the tenth woman in the United States to be
executed since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on capital punishment in 1976, and the second woman ever
executed in Florida. She declined a last meal and instead was given a cup of coffee. Her final statement before the
execution was "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."
In 1976, Wuornos hitchhiked to Florida, where she met 70-year-old yacht club president Lewis Gratz Fell. They married that same year, and
"get right with God". In her statement to the court, she said, "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." On May 15, 1992, Wuornos was given three more death sentences.
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