Aileen Wuornos was a serial killer who killed 7 men in the United States between 1989 and 1990. According to her, all of her victims had raped her or tried to rape her while working as a prostitute, and therefore all of these crimes were committed in self-defense.
She received a death sentence after being convicted of 6 of the 7 murders and was finally executed in October 2002. Alice Wuornos has been the subject of several documentaries in popular culture, the most famous of which is the highly acclaimed documentary “Monster” from 2013.
Who Was Aileen Wuornos?
Aileen Wuornos was born Aileen Carol Pittman on February 29, 1956, in Troy, Michigan. Her parents’ marriage broke up two months before she was born. At the time of her birth, her mother Diane Wuornos was 14 years old and her father Leo Dale Pittman was in prison. She never met her father, as he remained in prison until his suicide in January 1969. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was eventually convicted of sexual crimes against children.
She had an older brother named Keith, and when she was barely four years old, her mother left the family, leaving her with her maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos. Aileen and her brother were finally adopted by her grandparents on March 18, 1960, and consequently, she took the family name “Wuornos”.
The upbringing of Aileen Wuornos has been described as very traumatic. She began sexual activities in exchange for food, drugs, and cigarettes at the age of 11. She also had sexual relations with her brother and was sexually abused by her alcoholic grandfather. She dropped out of school at the age of 14, around the same time her grandmother died. At the age of 15, she was kicked out of the house by her grandfather, whereupon she began to live in the forest and work as a prostitute to make a living.
Aileen Wuornos had a child during her lifetime. In 1970, 14-year-old Wuornos became pregnant after being raped by an accomplice of her abusive grandfather. On March 23, 1971, she gave birth to a male child who was given up for adoption. After the birth of her son, Wuornos never went back to school.
Girlfriend and Partner – Tyria Moore
Aileen Wuornos had a number of relationships during her lifetime. The most remarkable of these was with a woman named Tyria Moore. The duo met at a gay bar in Daytona Beach, Florida sometime in the 1980s and they moved in together after that. Moore worked in the gay bar as a hotel maid, while Wuornos earned their own living through prostitution. The details of their relationship are a bit sketchy, but one striking feature is that the couple had several run-ins with the law during their time together.
Wuornos claimed that she was still in love with Moore throughout her time in prison until her execution. In the film Monster, Tyria Moore was represented by the character Selby Wall, played by actress Christina Ricci.
Crimes, Arrest, and Execution
Even as a teenager, Aileen Wuornos was known for displaying very violent behavior that led her to prison several times. She was arrested for all kinds of offenses and crimes, including drunk driving, assault, theft, and armed robbery. She served a prison sentence between May 1983 and June 1984 for robbing a convenience store. Her wave of illegal activities finally culminated in the murder of 7 men between 1989 and 1990.
In July 1990, a media campaign was launched for Wuornos and her friend Tyria Moore. The duo had left the car of one of Wuornos’ victims after being involved in an accident. Their fingerprints were taken from the car, and since Wuornos had a criminal record in Florida, theirs were easy to compare. She was finally arrested on January 9, 1991, at The Last Resort, a popular biker bar in Volusia County, Florida. The following day, her friend Moore was found in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and with her help, police were able to extract a confession from Wuornos and obtain legal immunity in return.
Aileen Wuornos gave several conflicting reports about the murders. In one report she claimed that the men all tried to rape her so that these crimes were committed in self-defense. In another report, she stated that she had actually robbed the men and decided to kill them in order to leave no trace.
The trial against Wuornos lasted from January 1992 to February 1993 and she received a total of 6 death sentences. She was not convicted for the death of one of the victims, whose body was never found. She was incarcerated on death row for women at the Florida Department of Corrections Broward Correctional Institution (BCI). She appealed unsuccessfully to the United States Supreme Court in 1996. In 2001, she decided to end all appeals and also dismissed her legal counsel. Aileen Wuornos was eventually transferred to the Florida State Penitentiary, where she was executed on October 9, 2002. Her remains were cremated and her ashes were spread under a tree in her hometown of Michigan.