Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Aileen Wuornos, "The Damsel of Death"
Aileen Wuornos was born February 29, 1956 to the parents of Diane Pratt and Leo Pittman. Her mother and father divorced when Aileen was very young, leaving their family torn. Her father was a child molester and felon and he was sent to prison for rape and attempted murder. Aileen's mother abandoned her and her brother, Keith, leaving them to live with their grandparents. Aileen had a horrible childhood. Her and her brother began rebelling early by refusing to go to school, using drugs, and engaging in sexual activities. Aileen became pregnant at a very young age but was forced to give her baby up for adoption (Osborn, 2009).
In 1971, when Aileen was just 15, her grandmother died leaving her homeless. To make ends meet she became a prostitute and began committing petty crimes. In 1976, Aileen hitch-hiked to Florida where she met her husband, Lewis Fell (a well-off elderly man). Nine weeks later Lewis filed a restraining order against Aileen because of physical abuse and their marriage ended. After her marriage, Aileen continued to break the law and also continued to work as a prostitute. Over the next few years, Aileen was arrested multiple times for crimes such as armed robbery, forgery, suspected involvement in the theft of weapons, grand theft auto, and assault (Osborn, 209).
In 1989, things change as the murders began. Aileen's first victim was Richard Mallory, 51. Mallory was known for his love of strip clubs and sleazy bars and he picked up Aileen sometime on December 1, 1989. The rest of the story is merely subjective based on Aileen's testimony. The report says that the two drove off and began a money transaction for sex. Aileen reported that Mallory became abusive causing the two to fight. She then pulled out the pistol in her purse and shot him to death. She then covered him with a piece of carpet and drove off in his car. At this time Aileen has been traveling with her lesbian companion, Tyria Moore. Aileen went back to her motel to show Moore the car and possessions she'd stolen, but Moore did not report Aileen (Bankston, 1996).
Then one by one, more victims came rolling on. Other men she killed include David Spears, Charles Carskaddon and Troy Burress. A Marion Country Investigator, John Tilley, was involved in the case of Troy Burress and was out of leads until he heard about the murders of two other men who had also been found shot in the woods. Tilley then met up with the investigators on both the Spears and Carskaddon cases and together they saw a connection between the murders. However, this connection was not enough to stop the killings because days later another man, Charles Humphrcys, was found dead. He had been shot seven times. The investigation continued and the officers began gathering more and more clues. They figured that the killer was a woman because none of the victims had been shot in the head, and women tend to aim lower. Then on November19, the seventh body, Walter Antonio, was found. He had been shot four times and left wearing only tube socks. After this the police went to the press, with a rough sketch of the killer (Bankston, 1996).
Aileen's murdering spree came to an end when her lesbian lover broke up with her. Aileen was living at a hotel at the time and began to heavily to drink the rest of her money away. On January 9, Aileen had been sleeping on a car seat outside a biker bar where two men offered her a $20 motel for the night. When Aileen arrived at the hotel, she was surrounded by officers who were ready to take her in. There had been hundreds of tips suggesting that Aileen was there and the hotel manager also recognized her from the sketch in the media (Bankston, 1996). Aileen was executed by the use of lethal injection on October 9, 2002 after a lengthy mental health investigation. At first she claimed that the killings were in self defense, but later said that was lie, that she had intended to rob and kill those men. She even told the court that if she was released, she knew she would kill again. She was the tenth woman to be executed in the United States since capital punishment resumed in 1977. Aileen's story has been portrayed in two movies, three books, and an opera ("Woman who killed," 2002).
Bankston, John. (2006, January 1). Case file: aileen "lee" wournos. Retrieved from: http://www.policemag.com/Channel/Patrol/Articles/1996/01/Aileen-Lee-Wournos.aspx
Osborn, Jim. (2009, April 5). Aileen wuornos: female serial killer Retrieved from: http://www.suite101.com/content/aileen-wuornos-a107584
Woman who killed six is executed in florida. (2002, October 10). Retrieved from: http://nytimes.com/2002/10/10/us/woman-who-killed-6-is-executed-in-florida.html