Aileen Wuornos is one of the most well-known female serial killers in American history, who killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990 by shooting them at point blank range. However, her life was an unfortunate one, filled with rage, violence, and sadness.
Aileen Wuornos was born on February 29, 1956, to teenage parents in Rochester, Michigan. When she was born, Dale Pittman, her father was in prison, having been convicted of sex crimes against children. Later he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and finally, hanged himself in his jail cell in 1969. Wuornos lost her father at the age of 12 and she never met her father. Her mother abandoned Wuornos and her younger brother, Keith, and they were raised by their grandparents. Wuornos alleged that she was sexually abused by her grandfather, who also used to beat her in those days. At the tender age of 14, she was impregnated by one of the friends of his grandfather. Next year she gave birth, and the baby was put up for adoption.
At the age of 15, Wuomos was thrown out from the house of her grandfather. In that helpless situation, she had to work as a prostitute, as she had no other way to earn money for her livelihood. She hitchhiked around the country, ending up in Florida, where she was briefly married to a wealthy yacht club owner Lewis Fell, 69, almost 50 years her senior. However, the marriage was short lived. Soon, Lewis Fell annulled the marriage and filed a restraining order against Wuornos, as she allegedly attacked him with his cane.
After her divorce, Wuornos got into trouble with the police department on many occasions. She was arrested in Michigan for drunk driving, and spent over a year in a Florida prison for armed robbery, before she was paroled in 1983. During the next few years, she again had to work as a prostitute around Florida, and regularly faced trouble with the police department. In the late 1980s, she met and fell in love with a woman named Tyria Moore. Though they used to stay and move together, Wuornos continued to work as a prostitute. In 1989, the rage that had dwelled within Aileen Wuornos since she was a young girl exploded, and she began to kill. She possessed a weapon of her choice, a .22 caliber pistol, unlike most female serial killers, who usually kill their victims by strangling, poisoning, or other less automatic methods.
Her first murder occurred in November 1989 in Clearwater, Florida. Wuornos was convicted, but she maintained that she killed 51-year-old Richard Mallory in self-defense, as he tried to rape her. In fact, Mallory served a 10 year prison sentence for sexual assault, though the information was not revealed in court for an unknown reason.
From June to November in 1990, Wuornos used her pistol to kill another six persons in different parts of Florida on different dates. On January 9, 1991, police discovered Wuornos and Tyria Moore’s fingerprints in a crashed car belonging to one of the victims of Wuornos. Properly equipped with that major evidence, they arrested Wuornos from a bar in Port Orange, named “The Last Resort”. Next day, Tyria Moore was also arrested in Pennsylvania. Moore cooperated with the police and agreed to get Wuornos to confess about the murders during a phone call. At her behest, Wuornos confessed, but insisted that she had to kill all of them in self-defense.
In 2001, Wuornos dismissed her lawyers and wrote a letter to the Florida Supreme Court, to the effect that, she wishes to withdraw the appeals process. In the letter, she confessed that she killed those men, robbed them cold as ice, and she would do it again, if needed. “There’s no chance of keeping me alive or anything, because I’d kill again.” Wuornos added, “I’m competent, sane, and I’m trying to tell the truth. I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.”
In 2002, after three different psychiatrists certified about her mental competence to understand her death penalty sentence, the then Florida Governor Jeb Bush lifted a temporary stay of order and signed her death warrant. After spending more than 10 years on Death Row, Wuornos was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002.
It is interesting to note that, the Hollywood movie “Monster” (2003), directed by Patty Jenkins, was based on stories from the early life of Wuomos until her first murder conviction. The film earned Charlize Theron an Academy Award for Best Actress for playing Wuomos.