Aileen Wuornos, nicknamed the Damsel of Death, spent 10 years on death row in Florida, after being convicted of killing six men when she worked as a prostitute on Florida’s highways in 1989 and 1990.
ABOVE IS A BRIEF INTERACTIVE INTERVIEW FOOTAGE OF HITCH-HIKING LESBIAN PROSTITUTE AND MAN HATER … AILEEN WUORNOS …. PRIOR TO HER EXECUTION…..INSANE?
ABOVE IS A BRIEF PICTORIAL INSIGHT INTO VARIOUS HANDWRITTEN AND SIGNED MURDERABILIA ITEMS FROM AILEEN WUORNOS HERE ON DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL
US-born highway hooker and serial man-killer Aileen Wuornos was put to death for a nine-month killing spree spanning north and central Florida.
The trail started on 1 December 1989 when a policeman found Richard Mallory’s abandoned vehicle. Just 12 days later the shop-owner’s bullet-ridden body was found in the undergrowth in a secluded wood.
Below is a brief interactive background insight into the the life and crimes of former lesbian prostitute and serial killer Aileen Wuornos who was executed October 9, 2002 by Lethal Injection in Florida .
Wuornos, nicknamed the Damsel of Death, spent 10 years on death row in Florida, after being convicted of killing six men when she worked as a prostitute on Florida’s highways in 1989 and 1990.
Her killings began with Richard Mallory on 13 December 1989, and ended in January 1991 when she was arrested in Daytona Beach, Florida.
She is thought to have killed eight men in total.
Wuornos originally claimed she had killed in self-defence, after being raped.
Click here to see the map of the killings
Several years later, she admitted planning the murders with robbery as her motive.
At her 1992 trial, State Attorney John Tanner described her as “a homicidal predator”.
“She was like a spider on the side of the road, waiting for her prey – men,” he said.
In April this year Wuornos refused to go along with another appeal.
“I would prefer to cut to the chase and get on with an execution,” she wrote.
“Taxpayers’ money has been squandered, and the families have suffered enough.”
Wuornos became a celebrity, and books, a film and an opera were written about her case.
Last week, Governor Bush lifted a stay on her execution when a team of psychiatrists ruled that she was sane.
Wuornos was abandoned by her mother as an infant, and her father was a convicted child molester who committed suicide in jail.
She became pregnant at 14, but had to give up the child.
In April, she wrote to the authorities: “I have hate crawling through my system.
“I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.”
She is only the second woman to be executed in Florida after the re-introduction of the death penalty in 1976.
Opponents of the death penalty say her execution, and that of Rigoberto Sanchez-Velasco last week, are being used by Governor Bush to help his re-election prospects in next month’s poll for the post of governor.
Aileen Wuornos mug shot
|Birth name||Aileen Carol Pittman|
|Also known as|| Sandra Kretsch
Susan Lynn Blahovec
Cammie Marsh Greene
Lori Kristine Grody
|Born||February 29, 1956
|Died||October 9, 2002 (aged 46)
Florida State Prison, Bradford County, Florida, United States
|Cause of death||lethal injection|
|Conviction||6 counts 1st degree murder|
|Number of victims:||7|
|Span of killings||30 November 1989–19 November 1990|
|Date apprehended||9 January 1991|
Aileen Wuornos (29 February 1956 – 9 October 2002) was an American serial killer who killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990, claiming theyraped 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 bylethal injection on October 9, 2002.
Wuornos was born as Aileen Carol Pittman in Rochester, Michigan, on 29 February 1956. Her mother, Diane Wuornos, was 15 years old when she married Aileen’s father, Leo Dale Pittman on 3 June 1954. Less than two years later, and two months before Wuornos 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 an eight-year-old boy when she was born. Leo Pittman was considered to be a schizophrenic, who 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 18 March 1960.
At age 12, Wuornos engaged in sexual activities in school in exchange for cigarettes, drugs, and food. Aileen 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. Aileen’s grandfather was an alcoholic. 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, Aileen dropped out of school as her grandmother died of liver failure; and Aileen and her brother 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.
Early criminal career
On 27 May 1974, 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).
In 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, Wuornos 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 peacefor 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. Wuornos and Fell annulled on July 21 after nine weeks of marriage.
On 20 May 1981, Wuornos was arrested in Edgewater, Florida, for the armed robbery of a convenience store. She was sentenced to prison on 4 May 1982, and released on 30 June 1983. On 1 May 1984, Wuornos was arrested for attempting to pass forged checks at a bank in Key West. On 30 November 1985, she was named as a suspect in the theft of a revolver and ammunition in Pasco County.
On 4 January 1986, Wuornos was arrested in Miami and charged with grand theft auto, resisting arrest, and obstruction by false information 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 2 June 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.
Around this time, 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 4 July 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 12 March 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.
After seeing Wuornos on television prior to her first trial, a 44-year-old born-again-Christian woman named Arlene Pralle felt compelled to contact Aileen. She claimed Jesus told her to do so. Pralle quickly became an outspoken advocate of Wuornos, speaking with her daily and claiming her innocence
- Richard 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 13, 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 Wuornos would eventually be condemned.
- David Spears, age 43—Construction worker in Winter Garden, Florida. On 1 June 1990, his nude body was found along Highway 19 in Citrus County, Florida. He had been shot six times.
- Charles Carskaddon, age 40, 31 May 1990—Part-time rodeo worker. On 6 June 1990, his body was found in Pasco County, Florida. He had been shot nine times with a small-caliber weapon.
- Peter Siems, age 65—In June 1990, Siems left Jupiter, Florida, for New Jersey. On 4 July 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.
- Troy Burress, age 50—Sausage salesman from Ocala, Florida. On 31 July 1990, he was reported missing. On 4 August 1990, his body was found in a wooded area along State Road 19 in Marion County, Florida. He had been shot twice.
- 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 12 September 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.
- Walter Jeno Antonio, age 62—Police Reservist.[page needed] On 19 November 1990,[page needed] Antonio’s nearly nude body was found near a remote logging road in Dixie County, Florida. He had been shot four times. Five days later, his car was found in Brevard County, Florida.
Apprehension and sentencing
On 4 July 1990, Wuornos and Moore abandoned Peter Siems’s car after they were involved in an accident. Witnesses who had seen the women driving the victims’ cars provided police with their names and descriptions, resulting in a media campaign to locate them. Police also found some of the victims’ belongings in pawnshops and retrieved fingerprints matching those found in the victims’ cars. Wuornos had a criminal justice record in Florida, and her fingerprints were on file.
On 9 January 1991, Wuornos was arrested on an outstanding warrant at The Last Resort, a biker bar in Volusia County. Police located Moore the next day in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She agreed to elicit a confession from Wuornos in exchange for prosecutorial immunity. Moore returned with police to Florida, where she was put up in a motel. Under police guidance, Moore made numerous telephone calls to Wuornos, pleading for help in clearing her name. Three days later, on 16 January 1991, Wuornos confessed to the murders. She claimed the men had tried to rape her and she killed them in self-defense.
On 14 January 1992, Wuornos went to trial for the murder of Richard Mallory. Prior bad acts are normally inadmissible in criminal trials; but, under Florida’s Williams Rule, the prosecution was allowed to introduce evidence related to her other crimes to show a pattern of illegal activity. On 27 January 1992, Wuornos was convicted of Richard Mallory’s murder with help from Moore’s testimony. At her sentencing, psychiatrists for the defense testified that Wuornos was mentally unstable and had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Four days later, she was sentenced to death.
On 31 March 1992, Wuornos pleaded no contest to the murders of Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, and David Spears, saying she wanted to “get right with God”. In her statement to the court, she stated, “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.” On 15 May 1992, Wuornos was given three more death sentences.
In June 1992, Wuornos pleaded guilty to the murder of Charles Carskaddon; in November 1992, she received her fifth death sentence. The defense made efforts during the trial to introduce evidence that Mallory had been tried for intent to commit rape in Maryland and that he had been committed to a maximum security correctional facility in Maryland that provided remediation to sexual offenders. Records obtained from that institution reflected that, from 1958 to 1962, Mallory was committed for treatment and observation resulting from a criminal charge of assault with intent to rape and received an over-all eight years of treatment from the facility. In 1961, “it was observed of Mr. Mallory that he possessed strong sociopathic trends”. The judge refused to allow this to be admitted in court as evidence and denied Wuornos’ request for a retrial.
In February 1993, Wuornos pleaded guilty to the murder of Walter Gino Antonio and was sentenced to death again. No charges were brought against her for the murder of Peter Siems, as his body was never found. In all, she received six death sentences.
Wuornos told several inconsistent stories about the killings. She claimed initially that all seven men had raped her while she was working as a prostitute but later recanted the claim of self-defense. During an interview with filmmaker Nick Broomfield, when she thought the cameras were off, she told him that it was, in fact, self-defense, but she could not stand being on death row—where she had been for 12 years at that point—and wanted to die.
Wuornos’ appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied in 1996. In 2001, she announced that she would not issue any further appeals against her death sentence. She petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for the right to fire her legal counsel and stop all appeals, saying, “I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again, too. There’s no chance in keeping me alive or anything, because I’d kill again. I have hate crawling through my system…I am so sick of hearing this ‘she’s crazy’ stuff. I’ve been evaluated so many times. I’m competent, sane, and I’m trying to tell the truth. I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.” A defense attorney argued that she was in no state for them to honor such a request.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush instructed three psychiatrists to give Wuornos a 15-minute interview. The test for competency requires the psychiatrist(s) to be convinced that the condemned person understands that she will die and for which crime(s) she is being executed. All three judged her mentally fit to be executed.
Wuornos later started accusing the prison matrons of abusing her. She accused them of tainting her food, spitting on it, serving her potatoes cooked in dirt, and her food arriving with urine. She also claimed overhearing conversations about “trying to get me so pushed over the brink by them I’d wind up committing suicide before the [execution]” and “wishing to rape me before execution”. She also complained of strip searches, being handcuffed so tightly that her wrists bruised any time she left her cell, door kicking, frequent window checks by matrons, low water pressure, mildew on her mattress and “cat calling … in distaste and a pure hatred towards me”. Wuornos threatened to boycott showers and food trays when specific officers were on duty. “In the meantime, my stomach’s growling away and I’m taking showers through the sink of my cell.”
Her attorney stated that “Ms. Wuornos really just wants to have proper treatment, humane treatment until the day she’s executed”, and “If the allegations don’t have any truth to them, she’s clearlydelusional. She believes what she’s written”.
During the final stages of the appeal process she gave a series of interviews to Broomfield. In her final interview shortly before her execution she claimed that her mind was being controlled by “sonic pressure” to make her appear crazy and described her impending death as being taken away by angels on a space ship. Wuornos said to Broomfield, “You sabotaged my ass, society, and the cops, and the system. A raped woman got executed, and was used for books and movies and shit.” Her final words in the on-camera interview were “Thanks a lot, society, for railroading my ass.”Broomfield later met Dawn Botkins, a childhood friend of Wuornos’, who told him, “She’s sorry, Nick. She didn’t give you the finger. She gave the media the finger, and then the attorneys the finger. And she knew if she said much more, it could make a difference on her execution tomorrow, so she just decided not to.”
Wuornos was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002. She was the tenth woman in the United States to be executed since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on capital punishment in 1976, and the second woman ever executed in Florida. She declined a last meal and instead was given a cup of coffee. Her final statement before the execution was “Yes, I would just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back, like Independence Day with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I’ll be back, I’ll be back.”
After her execution, Wuornos was cremated. Her ashes were taken by Dawn Botkins to her native Michigan and spread beneath a tree. She requested that Natalie Merchant‘s song “Carnival” be played at her funeral. Natalie Merchant commented on this when asked why her song was played during the credits of the documentary Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer:
When director Nick Broomfield sent a working edit of the film, I was so disturbed by the subject matter that I couldn’t even watch it. Aileen Wuornos led a tortured, torturing life that is beyond my worst nightmares. It wasn’t until I was told that Aileen spent many hours listening to my album Tigerlily while on death row and requested “Carnival” be played at her funeral that I gave permission for the use of the song. It’s very odd to think of the places my music can go once it leaves my hands. If it gave her some solace, I have to be grateful.
Broomfield later stated:
I think this anger developed inside her. And she was working as a prostitute. I think she had a lot of awful encounters on the roads. And I think this anger just spilled out from inside her. And finally exploded. Into incredible violence. That was her way of surviving. I think Aileen really believed that she had killed in self-defense. I think someone who’s deeply psychotic can’t really tell the difference between something that is life threatening and something that is a minor disagreement, that you could say something that she didn’t agree with. She would get into a screaming black temper about it. And I think that’s what had caused these things to happen. And at the same time, when she wasn’t in those extreme moods, there was an incrediblehumanity to her.
56th murderer executed in U.S. in 2002
805th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
10th female murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Florida in 2002
53rd murderer executed in Florida since 1976
2nd female murderer executed in Florida since 1976
Between December 1989 and September 1990, the bodies of several men were found murdered along the highways of northern and central Florida, including Richard Mallory, Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, David Spears, Walter Gino Antonio, Peter Siems, and Charles Carskaddon. Items belonging to Mallory and Antonio were pawned near Daytona Beach and the alias names used were traced to Wuornos through thumbprints left on the pawn shop cards. Wuornos confessed to the murder of all six men, claiming that she was picked up by the men when she was working as a highway prostitute, and shot them in self defense after they attempted to sexually assault her. Wuornos was convicted of the murder of Richard Mallory after a jury trial in Volusia County and was sentenced to death. At trial, the State was allowed to introduce similar crimes evidence about Wuornos’ commission of several other murders. While on death row, it was discovered that Mallory had previously served time for Attempted Rape. Wuornos pleaded no contest to the murders of the other 5 men and was sentenced to death in each case.
Within two weeks of her arrest, Wuornos and her attorney had sold movie rights to her story. Investigators in her case did likewise. The case resulted in several books and movies, and even one opera on the life of “America’s first female serial killer.” Wuornos’s father, Leo Dale Pittman, was a child molester and a sociopath who was strangled in prison in 1969. Wuornos was pregnant at age fourteen. Shortly thereafter, she dropped out of school, left home and took up hitchhiking and prostitution. Wuornos had a prior conviction for armed robbery in 1982.
Wuornos declined the traditional last meal, which could have been anything she wanted for under $20, and instead was given a cup of coffee.
“I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I’ll be back.”