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How Aileen Wuornos Became America’s Most Notorious Female Serial Killer

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Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuornos better known as ‘The Highway Hooker’ or ‘The Damsel of Death’ was a notorious serial killer convicted and sentenced to death for murdering her victims who were all men between 1989 and 1990.

She killed her victims by posing as a stranded motorist on north central Florida highways.

Wuornos who committed the heinous acts in Florida shot her victims at point-blank range claiming that those she killed were people who had wronged (raped) her in the past even though she later recanted.

Wuornos had a really troubled past. Born on February 29, 1956, at the tender age 11, she began selling her body in exchange for cigarettes, drugs, and food.

Aileen Wuornos
Aileen Wuornos

She fell pregnant at 13 after being raped by her grandfather’s friend. At 15, she delved into prostitution, selling her body to survive and living in the woods after he grandfather threw her out of his house.

As a disturbed woman, Wuornos engaged in car theft, robberies, prostitution and illegal use of firearm. She was angry with many people and decided to get her revenge (so it seems). Within a period of twelve months, Wuornos killed six men, even though the seventh man’s body was never found and she was not charged for it.

Tyria Moore, Wuornos’ girlfriend she met at a biker bar before they started a relationship convinced her to confess. Moore worked as a hotel maid when she and Wuornos started a relationship and became a couple. As at the time of her death, Wuornos said she was still in love with Moore.

Aileen Wuornos

Wuornos and Moore were arrested following the murder of Peter Siems, a 65-year-old ex-merchant seaman who devoted his life to a Christian outreach ministry.

Witnesses helped police identify the two after Moore and Wuornos were spotted abandoning his car. Wuornos’ palm print was found on the interior door handle.

They never told police where the body was and it was never found.

Tyria Moore was spared of prosecution. Moore knew about the killings. She elicited confession from Wuornos in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

She did this by making numerous phone calls to Wuornos under police guidance. She pleaded with Wuornos to confess to the police and help clear her name. After three days of pleading, Wuornos confessed to the murders.

A member of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department, Sgt. Bob Kelley who investigated the murder of Wuornos’ first victim, Richard Mallory described the method used by Wuornos saying she shot, robbed and dumped the bodies of her victims [to rot.]

With the help of her girlfriend’s testimony, Wuornos was convicted of Richard Mallory’s murder.

Aileen Wuornos childhood photo

Even though psychiatrists testified that Wuornos was mentally unsound and had earlier been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder, she was however given a death sentence.

Moreso, Wuornos was handed four more death sentences after pleading guilty to murdering her other victims – Charles Humphreys, Troy Burress, David Spears and Charles Carskaddon. According to her, the reason for her confession was because she wanted to “get right with God”.

She was also accused of murdering, Walter Jeno Antonio.

A statement she made in court read in part: “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.” 

Wuornos left chilling last words in her petition to the Florida Supreme Court in 2001. She notified them of her intention to dismiss her legal counsel and terminate all pending appeals.

In a 2001 petition to the Florida Supreme Court, she stated her intention to dismiss her legal counsel and terminate all pending appeals.

Tyria Moore

“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.” she said.

In her final words before her execution, Wuornos said: “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.” 

Her death came on the 9th of October, 2002 after she was executed by lethal injection.

In 2003, the film, ‘Monster’ won actress Charlize Theron an Academy Award for Best Actress. She starred as Wuornos, telling the story of a disturbed Wuornos.

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