Aileen Wuornos was an American serial killer who killed seven men in Florida in 1989 and 1990, claiming 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 by lethal injection on October 9, 2002.
The Early Life of Aileen Wuornos
ChildhoodAileen Wuornos was born as Aileen Carol Pittman in Rochester, Michigan, on February 29, 1956. Her mother, Diane Wuornos, was 15 years old when she married Aileen's father, Leo Dale Pittman, on June 3, 1954. Less than two years later, and two months before Aileen was born, Diane filed for divorce. Aileen had an older brother named Keith, who was born in February 1955. Wuornos never met her father, because he was in prison for the rape and attempted murder of a seven-year-old girl when she was born. Leo Pittman was considered to be a schizophrenic, and was convicted of sex crimes against children, was in and out of prison, and hanged himself in prison in 1969. In January 1960, when Aileen was almost 4 years old, Diane abandoned her children, leaving them with their maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos, who legally adopted Keith and Aileen on March 18, 1960.
SchoolAt age 11, Aileen Wuornos engaged in sexual activities in school in exchange for cigarettes, drugs, and food. She had also engaged in sexual activities with her own brother. Wuornos claimed that she was sexually assaulted and beaten as a child by her grandfather, an alcoholic. According to her accusations, before beating her, he would force her to strip out of her clothes. In 1970, at age 14, she became pregnant, having been raped by a friend of her grandfather. Wuornos gave birth at a home for unwed mothers, and the child was placed for adoption. A few months after her baby was born, Wuornos dropped out of school at about the time that her grandmother died of liver failure. Aileen Wuornos, and her brother, subsequently became wards of the court. When she was 15, her grandfather threw her out of the house, and she began supporting herself as a prostitute and living in the woods near her old home.
The Early Criminal Career of Aileen WuornosOn 27 May 1974, Aileen Wuornos was arrested in Jefferson County, Colorado, for driving under the influence (DUI), disorderly conduct, and firing a .22-caliber pistol from a moving vehicle. She was later charged with failure to appear (FTA).
MarriageIn 1976, Wuornos hitchhiked to Florida, where she met 69-year-old yacht club president Lewis Gratz Fell. They married that same year, and the announcement of their nuptials was printed in the society pages of the local newspaper. However, Aileen continually involved herself in confrontations at their local bar and eventually went to jail for assault. She also hit Fell with his own cane, leading him to get a restraining order against her. She returned to Michigan where, on 14 July 1976, Wuornos was arrested in Antrim County, Michigan, and charged with assault and disturbing the peace for throwing a cue ball at a bartender's head. On July 17, her brother Keith died of esophageal cancer and Wuornos received $10,000 from his life insurance. Aileen Wuornos and Fell annulled their marriage on July 21st, after only nine weeks of marriage.
Armed RobberyOn 20 May 1981, Aileen Wuornos was arrested in Edgewater, Florida, for the armed robbery of a convenience store, where she stole $35 and two packs of cigarettes. She was sentenced to prison on May 4th 1982, and released on the 30th of June, 1983. On May 1st, 1984, Wuornos was arrested for attempting to pass forged checks at a bank in Key West. On November 30th, 1985, she was named as a suspect in the theft of a revolver and ammunition in Pasco County. On January 4th, 1986, Aileen Wuornos was arrested in Miami and charged with grand theft auto, resisting arrest, and obstruction of justice for providing identification with her aunt's name. Miami police officers found a .38-caliber revolver and a box of ammunition in the stolen car. On June 2 1986, Volusia County, Florida deputy sheriffs 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 under the passenger seat she had occupied.
Enter Tyria MooreAround this time, Aileen Wuornos met Tyria Moore, a hotel maid, at a Daytona gay bar. They moved in together, and Wuornos supported them with her prostitution earnings. On July 4th, in 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. On March 12, 1988, Wuornos accused a Daytona Beach bus driver of assault. She claimed that he pushed her off the bus following a confrontation. Moore was listed as a witness to the incident. [caption id="attachment_6255" align="alignleft" width="226"] Tyria Moore[/caption]
The Murders of Aileen WuornosRichard Mallory, age 51, 30 November 1989—Electronics store owner in Clearwater, Florida. Wuornos' first victim was a convicted rapist whom she claimed to have killed in self-defense. Two days later, a Volusia County, Florida, Deputy Sheriff found Mallory's abandoned vehicle. On December 13th, Mallory's body was found several miles away in a wooded area. He had been shot several times, but two bullets to the left lung were found to have been the cause of death. It was on this murder that Aileen Wuornos would eventually be condemned.
The Victims of Aileen Wuornos
- David Spears, age 43—Construction worker in Winter Garden, Florida. On June 1st, 1990, his nude body was found along Highway 19 in Citrus County, Florida. He had been shot six times.
- Peter Siems, age 65—In June 1990, Siems left Jupiter, Florida, for New Jersey. On July 4th, 1990, his car was found in Orange Springs, Florida. Moore and Wuornos were seen abandoning the car, and Wuornos' palm print was found on the interior door handle. His body was never found.
- Charles "Dick" Humphreys, age 56, 11 September 1990—Retired U.S. Air Force Major, former State Child Abuse Investigator, and former Chief of Police. On September 12th 1990, his body was found in Marion County, Florida. He was fully clothed and had been shot six times in the head and torso. His car was found in Suwannee County, Florida.