“May your wife and children get raped, right in the ass.”
Say what you like about Aileen, but this woman had a way with words. She said this poetic phrase to the Jurors who convicted her. Tbf, they’d literally just sentenced her to death, so I’d probably say some hurtful shit too…
Although I do think that Aileen was the victim of society and her family failing her – she still technically killed 6 innocent men who could still be alive today… that’s not cool.
Name: Aileen Wournos
Date of Birth: March 1st 1956
Date of Death: October 9th 2002
Let’s start off with some fun facts about Aileen:
1.Her Parents Were Complete and Utter Wank Stains
Wuornos’s mother, Diane Wuornos, was only 15 or 16 when she gave birth to her; her father, Dale Pittman – whom she never met – was only a couple years older. Diane pissed off and left poor Aileen and her brother, Keith, when Wuornos was only 4 years old. (They went to live with their grandparents) Her father was in prison when she was born, having been convicted of sex crimes against children. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and later hanged himself in his jail cell in 1969 when Wuornos was a teen.
2. Sexual Abuse
Wournos has claimed that she was sexually abused by her grandfather, who also allegedly beat her. In 1970, when she was only 14, Wuornos was also allegedly raped by a friend of her grandfather’s and became pregnant. She gave birth the following year and put the baby up for adoption. (Things are looking pretty grim already for poor Aileen, I’m sure you’ll agree)
3. Troubled Teen
At 11, Wuornos began trading sexual favours for money, beer, and cigarettes. After the whole getting raped and pregnant at 14 thing, she spiralled a bit – who wouldn’t?! When she was thrown out of the house a year later, she was forced to make a living strictly through prostitution.
4. Previous Offences
In May 1974 she was jailed in Jefferson County for disorderly conduct, drunk driving and firing a weapon from a vehicle. Two years later, in Michigan, she was arrested for assault and disturbing the peace, after attacking a bartender.
5. She Got Married
She once got hitched to wealthy yacht club owner Lewis Fell, 69; when the two married in Florida in 1976, their nuptials were even printed in the society pages. Very fancy. However, shortly after, Lewis annulled the marriage and filed a restraining order against Wuornos when she attacked him with his cane 👀
6. BANG BANG
Going against the norm of other female serial killers, who often kill by strangling, poisoning or other less automatic methods, (’cause women are wonderfully sadistic and have fucked up voyeristic tendencies when it comes to their kills). Wuornos’s weapon of choice was in fact a .22 caliber pistol. (A key fact in her getting caught)
7. Lesbian Lover
Now… what happens when you get mistreated by men your entire life? You end up fucking hating men. No shocker there. Even though she was still soliciting herself to men – Aileen met Tyria Moore in 1986 and the two moved in together after they fell in love. Wuornos supported the couple entirely with her prostitution earnings and the couple traveled from one motel to another.
8. She Requested Her Funeral Song
Wournos supposedly listened to Natalie Merchant’s ‘Carnival’, along with the rest of the album ‘Tigerlily’ on Death Row. The artist gave permission for the song to be then played on the closing credits of the documentary Aileen: Life & Death of a Serial Killer. There isn’t a free copy of this online, however this documentary would be worth a look if you’re interested – The True Monster.
So, I think we’ve already got the idea that a childhood full of abuse and neglect eventually led to the events that transpired. But what did actually happen to make us all become familiar with the name Aileen Wournos?
After a ‘customer’ Richard Mallory, got a bit too handsy and Aileen ‘accidentally’ shot him point blank, (with her weapon of choice, a .22 pistol) she took his money and legged it. It then became a possibility that she could meet these men – kill them and take their money – all without having to do anything sexually. Well folks, this is exactly what she did.
The first chap she tried this out on was later discovered to have a criminal record for rape (although it was not raised at her trial) She shot him three times with a .22 pistol, dumped his body in a wood and stole his Cadillac. His car was discovered abandoned outside Daytona a few days later and two young men discovered his naked body on 13th December 1989.
It was six months before the next victim was discovered, 43-year old David Spears, a heavy machinery operator from Sarasota. His naked body was found on 1st June 1990 in Citrus County and he had been shot six times with a .22 pistol. It took police another week to effect identification via dental records and they discovered that he had been missing since 19th May.
By the time Spears had been identified, another naked victim had been found. This time thirty miles south of Pasco County on 6th June 1990. The body was so badly decomposed that police were unable to identify him immediately – but the fact that the corpse was naked and riddled with nine .22 calibre bullets, led to it being tentatively linked to the two previous victims. (Using the same gun and purposefully stripping these men in the same way, did not bode well for Aileen) The victim was later named as 40-year old rodeo worker, Charles Carskaddon.
The police received their first real break on 4th July 1990, when Wuornos and Moore crashed their car near Orange Springs, Florida, whilst in the midst of a heated argument (Women drivers, ey). They left the crash scene but were described to the police by a witness later on. The vehicle was also found to belong to a missing 65-year old retired merchant seaman called Peter Siems. He had last been seen on 7th June 1990 and the interior of the vehicle, when examined, exhibited signs of a struggle and yielded a number of finger and palm prints. The description of the two women, along with the crime MO, was then circulated throughout Florida and nationwide…
Wuornos’ next victim was 50-year old delivery driver Eugene Burress, whose employer raised the alarm when he failed to complete his delivery route on 30th July 1990. His delivery truck was found abandoned the next day and a picnicking family discovered his body, on 4th August 1990, in the Ocala National Forest. He had been shot twice with a .22-calibre pistol.
A month later, 56-year-old Dick Humphreys, a former police chief and Department of Health employee from Sumterville, was reported missing by his wife, on 11th September 1990. His body was found the next evening in Marion County. He had been shot seven times with a .22 pistol.
Another two months passed before the discovery of Wuornos’ seventh victim, a 60-year-old truck driver from Merrit Island called Walter Antonio, whose naked body was discovered in Dixie County on 19th November 1990. He had been dead less than 24 hours, shot three times in the back and once in the head, also with, you guessed it… a .22 firearm.
Recognising the similarities in all the cases, the police released the photo-fit identities of the women in the Siems car accident to the media. This received statewide coverage throughout Florida, due to the potential of a female serial killer being at large. This was HUGE.
By mid-December 1990 the police had a number of useful leads, which led to the identification of Tyria Moore, as well as three other names: (all names that Wournos used as pseudonyms to pawn the things she stole) Lee Blahovec, Lori Grody and Cammie Marsh Green, which all matched the description of the second photo-fit. When Wuornos used the Cammie Marsh Greene identity, to pawn a camera belonging to Richard Mallory, she was required to provide fingerprint identification, in accordance with Florida law (Busted). She also used the Greene ID to pawn a set of tools that matched a description of those missing from David Spear’s truck. An analysis of these fingerprints linked Greene to Grody and also matched the prints lifted from Siem’s stolen car. It all finally fit together.
The information was passed to the National Crime Information Centre and the three aliases were linked to none other than, Aileen Wuornos. By 5 January 1991 the police finally had a focus for their investigative efforts.
- David Spears – Age 43
Death: May 1990
- Charles Carskaddon – Age 40
Death: May/Jun 1990
- Peter Siems – Age 65
Death: June 1990
- Troy Burress – Age 50
Death: July 1990
- Dick Humphreys – Age 56
Death: September 1990
- Walter Antonio – Age 60
Death: November 1990
What happened next?
There was a huge manhunt and Wuornos was eventually tracked down to Port Orange, Florida. They didn’t arrest her immediately, however – they watched her movements to see if she contacted Moore.
The next afternoon, 9th January 1991, Wuornos was arrested at the Last Resort bar, where she was advised that she was wanted in relation to minor outstanding charges against Lori Grody. The press were not informed of the arrest and no mention was made of the murder charges at that stage. The following day Tyria Moore was traced to her sister’s home in Pittston, Pennsylvania, where she revealed to the police that Wuornos had admitted the murder of Mallory to her, on the day it had happened, but Moore had deliberately avoided discussing any other suspicious incidents with her, fearing for her own safety.
THEN… Moore made a deal to help the police build a case against Wuornos! The two conducted a series of recorded telephone conversations over the next few days, during which Moore pleaded with Wuornos to confess , to spare Moore from prosecution as an accomplice.
Wuornos was initially cautious on the phone, but faced with the prospect that Moore would also be prosecuted, she confessed to six of the murders on 16th January 1991, claiming that they had all been acts of self-defence and that Moore had had no involvement in any of them.
Given the media attention surrounding the case and the relative rarity of female serial killers, Wuornos was a national celebrity overnight. Within two weeks of her arrest, Wuornos had sold the film rights to her life story (Monster, staring Charlize Theron – Watch it – it’s amazing), and expected to become super rich – however she wasn’t aware that Florida law did not allow profiting from criminal enterprise in this way…
This is a bit weird…
During January 2001, a 44-year-old rancher’s wife and born-again Christian, Arlene Pralle, contacted Wuornos via letter. She informed Wuornos that God had instructed her to do so, giving her home number and asking that Wuornos contact her. This marked the beginning of a bizarre friendship, which saw Pralle defending Wuornos’ self-defence plea, through a flurry of media interviews, for most of 1991. This culminated in Pralle’s legal adoption of Wuornos (WTF) on 22nd November 1991: again on God’s instruction, according to Pralle…
So... Why So Serial?
Surely, it is much easier to believe that she must have been driven by some sort of deep emotional scars – as opposed to being a cold-blooded and heartless individual who was significantly abnormal in her sexual and aggressive behaviour from early childhood, right?
We will probably never really know the truth about what motivated Aileen’s killings. But it’s important to remember that psychopaths (and there’s no arguing Aileen wasn’t a psychopath – that’s one common trait all serial killers share) are simply wired very differently from most of us and are capable of the most heinous acts.
They also tell people what they think people are most inclined to believe. They are capable of lying very convincingly and without signs of discomfort. They are adept at what experts call the art of “impression management.” One should always retain a fair degree of skepticism when trying to find some rhyme or reason to the behaviour of persons who science tells us are born without the capacity for conscience.
But this comes back to what I was saying at the start. Was Aileen born this way? Maybe it was in her DNA from the very start and the whole nature vs nurture debate doesn’t come into play at all.
One thing we do know, however, is that Aileen Wournos was a serial killer who undoubtedly would have killed again and again (her words, not mine).