Aileen Wuornos biography
Born on February 29, 1956, in Rochester, Michigan, Aileen Wuornos was sexually abused and thrown out of her home as a teen. She made a living as a sex worker on Florida's highways, and in 1989, she killed a man who'd picked her up. She went on to kill five other men and was eventually caught, convicted and placed on death row. Though her sanity was questioned, Wuornos was executed by lethal injection in 2002.
Aileen Carol Wuornos was born on February 29, 1956, in Rochester, Michigan. Wuornos's childhood was a troubled one. She and her brother were raised by their grandmother after her father, a child molester and a psychopath, hanged himself in prison and her mother abandoned them in 1960.
After Wuornos got pregnant at age 14 (claiming her brother as the father), she gave the baby up for adoption and left home to hitchhike across America working as a prostitute. She soon fell in love with a young waitress, Tyria Moore, and the couple stayed together for four years. Wuornos and Moore barely survived on Aileen's meager income from prostitution, a vocation that was all too frequently coupled with violence. She and Moore decided that she would have to rob her johns—and then shoot them—to make ends meet.
Killing Spree and Arrest
The corpse of Richard Mallory was found on December 13, 1989, in a wood near Daytona Beach; he had been shot three times. Six months later, another man was found shot six times with the same gun. Before the body could be identified, the third victim was found. By November 1989, four other men were found dead as the result of a shooting.
Police received four calls identifying the killers as Wuornos and Moore, and detectives arrested both women in January 1991. At Moore's request, Wuornos confessed to six of the killings, all allegedly performed in self-defense.
Trial and Public Impact
After a lengthy trial, Wuornos was found guilty and sentenced to death. While on death row, she feverishly read the bible, created drawings, helped others with their appeals and began writing about her life. But on October 9, 2002, her life was ended by lethal injection.
Aileen Wuornos is widely considered to be America's first female serial killer. Her story was turned into a Hollywood film titled Monster in 2004. Wuornos was played by Charlize Theron, who earned an Academy Award for best actress for the role.