Who was Aileen Wuornos?
Aileen Wuornos Pralle was born on February 29, 1956 in in Rochester, Michigan and never met her biological father who was in prison at the time of her birth. Her mother, Diane Wuornos, gave birth to Aileen when she was only 16 years old. But filed for divorce of her husband just months before Aileen’s birth. It seems that Aileen’s biological father was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was later also convicted of crimes against children.
When Aileen was 4 years old, her mother abandoned her and her brother, leaving them with their grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos. They legally adopted Keith (Aileen’s brother) and Aileen on March 18, 1960. But this didn’t turn out to be an easy life as her grandmother was an alcoholic and the grandfather was a vicious and violent man.
Aileen’s early life was filled with abandonment, violence and abuse, this leading to her engaging in sexual activities in school in exchange for cigarettes. Her grandfather made her situation even worse by beating her and sexually abusing her. Further more he even had accomplices helping him abusing and raping her.
Aileen got pregnant at the age of 14, after she was raped by one of her grandfather’s accomplices. So, on March 23, 1971, she gave birth to a little boy, who she put up for adoption. We guess here that the adoption was by far a better option for the new born child; compared to the living situation she had at her grandparents. Just a few months later, she dropped out of school, around the time her grandmother died. If this wasn’t enough, when she turned 15, her grandfather kicked her out pf the house.
Her string of offences
She was now alone and struggling to survive on the streets. Naturally she did the only think she knew to survive, which was prostitution. While this provided resources to survive, she didn’t have a place to live, so she settled in the woods near her old home.
Having already lived on the streets for a while now, Aileen was hitchhiking for her survival and on May 27, 1974, at the age of 18, Wuornos was arrested in Jefferson County, Colorado, for driving under the influence, disorderly conduct, and firing a .22-caliber pistol from a moving vehicle. She was later charged with failure to appear. After this, Aileen hitchhiked to Florida and here is where she met her future husband Lewis Gratz Fell. Lewis was a much more elder man than she was and also a wealthy man. The two got married in 1976, but Aileen kept visiting local bars and engaged in confrontations, so she got arrested for assault. Having realizing her violent tendencies, Lewis filled for divorce shorty after their marriage, to be more exact, after 9 weeks.
Right around their divorce, Aileen got news that her brother had died and she received 10.000 dollars as insurance money. This didn’t last long, as Aileen spent most of the money very fast, including buying a car which she later wrecked.
A decade of charges and arrests
For the next years, Aileen has been engaged in numerous illegal activities, including assault, robbery, forged checks, theft. It wasn’t long until Aileen got arrested so, on May 20, 1981 in Florida she was arrested and then sentenced to prison on May 4, 1982 for the armed robbery of a liquor store. However she was released on June 30, 1983 and continued with her way of life. She was detained by police in multiple occasions for car theft and resisting arrest, and on June 2, 1986 police even finding weapons upon her.
Aileen meets Tyria Moore
Around this time in her life, she met 24-year-old Tyria Moore in Daytona, Florida, and the two embarked on a romantic relationship, moving in together and living off of Aileen’s sexual activities.
But continuing to engage in prostitution, Aileen soon came to realize that this was not a safe way of living. This is when her murders begun.
How did the killings start?
Her first victim was Richard Mallory, age 51, on November 30, 1989, however she claimed that this murder was self defense and though it was never revealed in court, it was found later that Richard Mallory was a convicted for sexual assault and spent a decade in prison. (talk about karma) Two days after the murder, a deputy sheriff found the victim’s car and on December 13, 1990 his body was discovered in a wooded area, having suffered several shots of which two bullets in the left lung causing his death.
The murder spree
It seems that Aileen was starting developing a pattern. She lured her victims with the promise of sex and then she shot them. She killed 3 more men, her second victim being Charles Carskaddon, aged 40, on May 31, 1990
This first horrifying experience didn’t stop Aileen as she continued killing, her third victim being on June 1, 1990. His name was David Spears and he was a construction worker in Winter Garden and his body was discovered being shot 6 times. He was followed by Peter Siems, age 65, a retired merchant. His car was found, but his remains were never discovered. Moore and Aileen were seen abandoning the victim’s car and Aileen’s palm print was discovered on the car’s interior door handle
The killing spree didn’t stop so on July 31, 1990 Aileen took the life of another man by the name Troy Burress, age 50. His body was discovered several days later, on August 4, 1990 in a wooded area along Sate Road 19 in Marion County. He too died being shot. Two times. The list of murders continued with Charles “Dick” Humphrey, age 56, on September 11, 1990. Charles was a retired U.S. Air Force Major and former State Child Abuse Investigator; (the cruel irony of killing a man who was investigating the same crime she suffered of).
The following day, his body was found, fully clothed and shot 6 times in the head and torso. Her last victim was Walter Jeno Antonio, age 62. Walter was a security guard and police reservist. His nearly naked body was discovered near a logging road in Dixie County. He too dies of multiple gun shots.
While ditching her fourth victim’s car, on July 4, 1990, both Moore and Aileen were seen by witnesses who gave descriptions and names to the police; so a media hunt started. Police managed to retrieve fingerprints from some of the victim’s belongings that were found in pawn shops and compared them to the ones found in the car. So it wasn’t long until Aileen became the prime suspect. Due to her previous convictions and her record, her fingerprints being on file.
Police knew they are dealing with an extremely dangerous suspect so they approached her arrest very carefully.
On January 9, 1991, she was arrested on an outstanding warrant at The Last Resort, a bar in Volusia County. Moore was located the following day in Scranton Pennsylvania and agreed to cooperate with the police in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Tyria Moore returned to Florida with the police. In an attempt of getting a confession from Aileen, Moore, guided by the police, made several calls to Aileen asking her help to clear her name. Aileen did just that and three days later she confessed to all murders. She and also took sole responsibility for all of them.
Wuornos went to trial a year later, on January 14, 1992, for the murder of Mallory. Although previous convictions are inadmissible in criminal trials, under Florida’s Williams Rule the prosecution was allowed to introduce evidence related to her other crimes to show a pattern of illegal activities.
Aileen Wuornos was convicted of Mallory’s murder with help from Moore’s testimony on January 27, 1992.. At her sentencing, psychiatrists testified that she was mentally unstable but four days later, she was sentenced to death.
Saying she wanted to “get right with God”, Aileen pleaded no contest to the murders of Humphreys, Burress and Spears. She testified saying that “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.” Following this admission, she received three more death sentences. She received her fifth death sentence in November 1992, after pleading guilty to the murder of Carskaddon in June 1992. In February 1993, Aileen pleaded again guilty for the murder of Antonio, raising her number of death sentences at 6. As for the murder of Siems, charges were never brought and his body was never discovered. However she admitted to the killing of Siems, outside of court.
Aileen Wuornos spent a decade on the death row. Eventually she fired her attorneys who were trying to get a stay of execution. Then governor Jeb Bush lifted a tenporary stay of execution, after specialists testified that she is mentally competent to understand the death penalty. Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection on the morning of October 9, 2002.
Aileen Wuornos Statement of facts
Aillen Wurnos Appeal