On December 13, 1989, two men were looking for scrap metal along a dirt road close to Interstate 95 in Volusia County, Florida. Instead of saleable junk they found a body wrapped in a carpet. Fingerprints carefully taken from the badly decomposed hands proved that this was a man named Richard Mallory who had been missing for almost two weeks. He had been killed with three shots from a .22 handgun.

Aileen Pittman was born in Rochester, Michigan, on February 29, 1956. Her father, Leo Dale Pittman, was a child molester and a sociopath who was strangled in prison in 1969. Her mother, Diane Wuornos, married Pittman when she was 15 and bore him two children, but divorced him a few months before Aileen was born. Diane abandoned Aileen and her brother Keith in 1960, and they were adopted by their maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos. Many people claim that Aileen's grandparents were both verbally and physically abusive towards her, with conflicting denials and accusations coming from both sides. At age six, Aileen suffered scarring facial burns while she and Keith were setting fires with lighter fluid and she later told police that she had also had sex with Keith when they were growing up, but most acquaintances doubt this story. Aileen was clearly having sex with someone for she became pregnant at age 14 and was sent to an unwed mothers home for the duration of her pregnancy. The staff found her hostile, uncooperative, and unable to get along with her peers.

On May 5, 1990 the body of an unidentified male was found naked in Brooks County, Georgia, close to Interstate 75 and just across the state line from Florida. Two .22 caliber slugs were found in the remains.

In May 1974, using the alias Sandra Kretsch, Aileen was jailed in Jefferson County, Colorado, for disorderly conduct, drunk driving, and firing a .22-caliber pistol from a moving vehicle. Additional charges of failure to appear were filed when she skipped town ahead of her trial. Back in Michigan on July 13, 1976, Aileen was arrested in Antrim County for simple assault and disturbing the peace, after she lobbed a cue ball at a bartender’s head. Outstanding warrants from Troy, Michigan, were also served on charges of driving without a license and consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle. Also in 1976, Aileen’s brother Keith died of throat cancer and she received a $10,000 life insurance payment. She used this money to move to Florida.

On June 1, 1990 another naked male body was found in the woods of Citrus County, Florida, about 40 miles north of Tampa Bay. The body was identified as that of David Spears of Bradenton, Florida. His truck was found shortly after that on Interstate 75 with the doors unlocked and the license plate missing.

On May 20, 1981, Wuornos was arrested in Edgewater, Florida, for armed robbery and served thirteen months in prison. Her next arrest, on May 1, 1984, was for trying to pass forged checks at a bank in Key West. On November 30, 1985, named as a suspect in the theft of a pistol and ammunition in Pasco County, Aileen borrowed the alias Lori Grody from an aunt in Michigan. Eleven days later, the Florida Highway Patrol cited Grody for driving without a valid license. On January 4, 1986, Aileen was arrested in Miami under her own name, charged with auto theft, resisting arrest, and obstruction by false information; police found a .38-caliber revolver and a box of ammunition in the stolen car. On June 2, 1986, Volusia County deputies detained Lori Grody for questioning after a male companion accused her of pulling a gun in his car and demanding $200; in spite of her denials, Aileen was again carrying spare ammunition, and a .22 pistol was found beneath the passenger seat of the car. A week later, using the new alias of Susan Blahovec, she was ticketed for speeding in Jefferson County, Florida. The citation includes the observation: “Attitude poor. Thinks she is above the law.

On June 6, 1990 another body, later to be determined to be that of Charles Carskaddon, was found a few miles off Interstate 75. The body was so badly decomposed that medical examiners were not able to obtain fingerprints and could not estimate time of death. The nine bullets found in the remains were damaged by the decomposition, but were determined to have come from a .22 caliber gun.

Through all of this, Aileen was earning money as a prostitute. She was usually found working along Interstate 75, serving the local truckers that drove there. In 1986, Aileen met a woman named Tyria Moore at a gay bar in Daytona and the two quickly became lovers. They began living together and it finally seemed that Aileen had found someone to be with.

On June 7, 1990 a man named Peter Siems disappeared after leaving his home in Jupiter, Florida to visit relatives in Arkansas. Siems was a 65-year-old retired merchant seaman who devoted much of his time to a Christian outreach ministry.

On July 4, 1990 a car driven by Aileen Wuornos flew off of State Road 315 and crashed into some brush. Aileen and Tyria emerged from the car screaming and swearing and throwing beer cans at each other. They dragged the car out of the bush, but eventually abandoned it several miles down the road. Marion County sheriff’s deputies found the car where the women had left it. There were bloodstains throughout the interior, and the license plate was missing. A computer search based on the VIN number revealed that the car belonged to the recently disappeared Peter Siems. People who witnessed the car crash gave descriptions of Aileen and Tyria to police sketch artists.

On August 4, 1990 the body of Troy Burress was found by a family out for a picnic in Ocala National Forest. He had been killed with two shots from a .22 caliber gun, one to the chest and one to the back.

It really wasn’t until this point that the police realized that all of these crimes were connected and that they had a serial killer on their hands. All of the men had been killed while in their cars, but since no one picked up hitchhikers anymore, it was theorized that the perpetrator of these crimes had to be initially non-threatening to the victims, such as a woman.

On the evening of September 12, 1990 the body of Dick Humphreys was found in Marion County. He’d been shot seven times. Six .22 caliber slugs were recovered from his body; the seventh went through his wrist and was never found.

In late November, Reuters ran a story about the killings, saying police were looking for the women. Papers across Florida picked up the story and ran it, along with police sketches of Aileen and Tyria.

On November 19, 1990 the nude body of Walter Gino Antonio was found on a logging road in Dixie County. Sixty-year-old Antonio was a trucker, a sometime security guard, and a member of the Reserve Police. He’d been shot four times with a .22.

Thanks to hundreds of tips that poured in and to Aileen Wuornos’ extensive criminal record, the police quickly established the names of the two people they were looking for and an extensive (wo)man hunt began. The investigation was also helped by the fact that Aileen was going into pawnshops and selling items taken from the murder victims. Aileen was finally arrested on January 9, 1991. On the morning of January 16 she confessed to committing six of the murders, she denied killing Peter Seims and the John Doe found on May 5.

Aileen declared that she was innocent because all of the killings were done in self-defense. All of the victims had assaulted her, threatened her, or raped her. She’d been raped several times in the past few years, she claimed, and had had enough, so when each of her victims became aggressive she killed out of fear. Her story seemed to develop as she told it. When she thought she’d said something incriminating she would back up and retell that part, changing details to suit her overall scenario.

Before the trial began, Aileen was contacted by a woman named Arlene Pralle. She had seen her picture in the newspaper and wrote her a letter “My name is Arlene Pralle and I’m born-again. You’re going to think I’m crazy, but Jesus told me to write you.” She then gave Aileen her home phone number and they began a close relationship. Almost immediately, Pralle became one of Aileen’s most ardent defenders. Throughout 1991, she appeared on talk shows and in tabloids, talking to anyone who would listen about what she perceived as Aileen’s true, good nature. Both Aileen and Pralle emphasized Aileen’s troubled upbringing, and both leveled accusations of corruption and complicity at anyone who was in their way. On November 22, 1991, Arlene Pralle and her husband legally adopted Aileen Wuornos. Pralle said God had told her to do it.

Aileen’s trial was a complete circus. She was only tried for the murder of Richard Mallory, but a quirk in Florida trial rules allowed evidence relating to the other murders to be admitted because it showed a pattern. This completely destroyed Aileen’s self-defense claim, killing one would-be rapist was a possibility, but killing six of them over the span of several months seemed impossible. The state that the bodies were found in also did not corroborate this story at all. The jury was also shown Aileen’s videotaped confession where she appeared confident and not at all upset by the story she was telling. She made easy conversation with her interrogators and repeatedly told her public defender to be quiet.

“I shot 'em cause to me it was like a self-defending thing, because I felt if I didn’t shoot 'em and didn’t kill 'em, first of all ... if they had survived, my ass would be gettin' in trouble for attempted murder, so I'm up shits creek on that one anyway, and if I didn’t kill em, you know, of course, I mean I had to kill em ... or its like retaliation, too. Its like, 'You bastards, you were going to hurt me’”

When Aileen took the witness stand, she suddenly declared that Mallory had tortured her for several hours and then raped and sodomized her. This completely contradicted all of her previous stories, including the videotape the jury had just seen. Her attorneys repeatedly advised her not to answer the questions posed by the prosecution, and she invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination twenty-five times.

On January 27, 1992 the jury found Aileen Wuornos guilty of first-degree murder and recommended that she be sentenced to the electric chair. As the jury was led out of the courtroom she exploded with rage, shouting, “I’m innocent! I was raped! I hope you get raped! Scumbags of America!

Over the next few years, Aileen was brought to trial and pleaded guilty for the rest of the murders, but also continued her courtroom outbursts. At one she turned to the Assistant State’s Attorney and hissed, “I hope your wife and children get raped in the ass!” At another she repeatedly screamed “MOTHERFUCKER!” while the judge sentenced her. During this time, it became known that Richard Mallory had once served ten years in prison for a sexual offense, but even though this added to her claim that she was assaulted, Aileen was not given a new trial due to the fact that she had pled guilty to the rest of the murders.

Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection at 9:47 a.m. on Wednesday, October 9, 2002.

“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 mothership and all. I'll be back”

Sources:
http://members.tripod.com/ahrens/serial/wuornos.htm
http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial4/wuornos
http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/10/09/wuornos.execution/index.html

It now appears that Aileen's story will be portrayed by Charlize Theron in a film called Monster which will also supposedly feature lesbian sex scenes with Christina Ricci. I need to see this movie purely in the interests of maintaining this writeup.

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