A to Z Challenge: W (serial killers)

Aileen Wuornos

Fast Facts:

  • Born in 1956 in Michigan, died in 2002 in Florida
  • Shot 6 men with her female partner, claiming self-defence
  • Fingerprints in the car of her first victim led to her arrest
  • Initially charged with 1 murder she was later charged with another 5
  • Found guilty she was sentenced to 6 death penalties

Aileen Wuornos’s childhood was not happy. Her father committed suicide while in jail for child molestation while her mother abandoned her and her brother to the care of their grandparents – an alcoholic grandfather and violent grandmother. In her early teens she fell pregnant. The baby was given up for adoption and she was forced out of the home and lived in the woods.

Wuornos became a prostitute to survive. She had arrests for assault and disorderly conduct before moving to Florida and marrying a wealthy man, although he had the marriage annulled soon after as Wuornos was arrested again.

After a series of crimes Wuornos met Tyria Moore and entered a romantic relationship. During an eight-month period Wuornos and her partner murdered at least 6 men. Police were able to track down Wuornos and Moore from finger and palm prints left in the vehicle of one of their victims.

Wuornos took full responsibility for the murders, claiming the first victim had raped and assaulted her and the murder had been self-defence. She was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death. Later she was also found guilty of the other 5 murders and received 5 more death sentences.

16 comments on “A to Z Challenge: W (serial killers)

  1. Female serial killers are rare but with her experiences with men–never mind. I won’t even go there.

    • It’s interesting that she blamed her killing on her past, whereas male serial killers don’t seem to give a reason for their killing.

  2. I remember seeing a television movie about this serial killer. Watching the actor playing her on screen, I was surprised to find that I felt some real sympathy for her history and her brokenness.

    • That’s interesting, Karen. I always wonder where you draw the line between sympathy for children who have such broken lives and adults who should still know right from wrong. At what age is that sympathy lost?

  3. Was she actually executed? That… is a lot of death sentences. I know people get multiple life sentences (which seems odd enough, but has something to do with… sentence reduction? Something?), but piling on the death sentences seems especially odd. I guess… it’s so… you have to overturn all of them to not die?
    Anyway, I am thoroughly intrigued.

    • Melanie, she was executed. She claimed she was being poisoned and abused with the purpose of forcing her to commit suicide prior to her death (she made a lot of other claims as well). She chose a cup of coffee as her last meal and said she was going to return on June 6 like the movie Independence Day.

  4. Although she did have a tragic childhood, I find this one more difficult than the others. She seems to be killing without a motive. Well… not as much as a motive as the one’s previously.

    Warzone by The Wanted

    • I struggle with the motives of most people – especially when they are killing randoms. I can’t see how killing in those circumstances can ever be justified.

  5. A sad case, but what about her partner? What do we know of her and her own motives?

    Aussie children’s writers: W Is For Gabrielle Wang and the Wilkinsons


    • Her partner is very litigious, so here’s some basic information. She was witness and accessory, but claimed she wasn’t involved. Wasn’t charged as far as I know.

  6. Whoa, another lady struck. Her childhood sounds like the absolute horror, not that this is an excuse. So six death penalties equals one execution?


  7. I wonder what happened to her baby and if s/he knows who his/her mother is…?

  8. The story of her young life is so sad, and it just goes downhill from there. You have to wonder why some people become killers in such circumstances though, since others don’t.
    https://tashasthinkings.blogspot.com/ – Tasha’s Thinkings – Movie Monsters

    • It certainly makes me grateful for the life I have, although I like to think if I’d faced adversity I would have remembered right from wrong.

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