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Famous Serial Killers , Aileen Wuornos

Updated on November 29, 2009
Aileen Wuornos was not your typical female serial killer because she killed strangers and she killed with a gun.
Aileen Wuornos was not your typical female serial killer because she killed strangers and she killed with a gun.

Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuornos was not your typical black widow serial killer. Most female serial killers know their victims and in a lot of cases use poison to dispatch their victims. Wuornos did not know her victims and she used a gun to kill her victims. Wuornos also hunted for victims which again is not typical of your average female serial killer.

Aileen Carol Wuornos was born on February 29th 1956. Aileen Wuornos was born in the town of Rochester Michigan. Leo Dale Pittman was married to Aileen's mother at the time of her birth but they divorced when Aileen was two months away from birth. Pittman was convicted of the rape of a seven year old girl and he was serving time in prison at the time of Aileen's birth. Leo Pittman never met his daughter Aileen Wuornos and he hanged himself in prison in 1969.

It was in January 1960 that Aileen's mother abandoned her and her brother at the home of Lauri and Britta Wuornos their maternal grandparents  who later adopted the children and they took  the last name of Wuornos instead of Pittman. But her and her brothers childhood was anything but typical. Aileen was raped or so she claimed by a stranger at age 13 and she was involved in sex games from a very young age even with her brother. She had the baby in a Detroit home for unwed mothers and later after her Grandmothers death her Grandfather threw her out of the house.

Like so many other young people with nowhere to go she hitchhiked to Florida where she was at one time married to a very wealthy man but she beat him with his cane and he divorced her and got a order of protection to keep her away from him. Over the next few years Aileen wandered up and down Florida living in homeless shelters and the homes of people she met while at the same time she was a one person crime wave. Early on she did time for bad checks , assault ,  and car theft among other petty crimes.

And over the same time she supported herself and later her and her lesbian girlfriend by prostitution. And then on January 9th 1991 Justice finally caught up with Aileen Wuornos and she was arrested her at the Biker Bar called " The Last Resort " in Volusia County Florida.  The next day her lesbian lover Moore was arrested in Scranton Pennsylvania where she had gone on Grey Hound because of her fear of what Aileen had done and the fear that she would be arrested for Aileen's crimes also. The police already strongly suspected Aileen Wuornos was a serial killer and had some fingerprint evidence but they needed a confession. 

Moore agreed to help the Florida police in return for immunity and she was returned to Florida the day after her arrest where she was put up in a hotel and she used the telephone and she made calls to Aileen in jail to get her to confess. She made the claim to Wuornos that she just wanted Aileen to clear her name but Aileen Wuornos suspected the police were listening and told Moore so. It was three days later that Wuornos confessed to the murders on January 16th 1991. She said that the men had tried to rape her and that she has killed them in self defense. 

She was sentenced to death for her crimes and for a while she allowed her attorneys to fight through appeals for her life. Wuornos' appeal was denied by the US Supreme Court in 1996 but she was still alive setting on death row in 2001 when she told the Florida Supreme Court that she did not want any more appeals. She said that she killed those men and robbed them cold as ice and that she would gladly do it again.

Wuornos got her wish as she was executed by lethal injection on October 9th 2002 and became the 10th woman in the United States to die after the US Supreme Court lifted its ban on capital punishment in 1976 and she was only the second woman ever to be executed in the state of Florida. 

My Conversations With Aileen Wuornos

In September of 1999 and then again in January of 2000 I made the journey out to the women's prison near Starke Florida. I was then working for Catholic Charities and a friend of mine Sister Kathleen who worked against the death penalty around the southeastern United States asked me to go with her on those two occasions to meet and talk with Aileen Wuornos

We were allowed to meet with Aileen Wuornos on those two occasions for 1 hour each time.  The first visit was extended by the prison officials and lasted about two hours while at the second meeting Aileen became agitated because she had lost all hope and cut that meeting short at about 40 minutes. Both times we met her she was wearing handcuffs attached to a chain around her waist and a chain down to ankle cuffs securing her feet.

On both occasions we talked to her about her crimes and the death penalty. Sister Kathleen tried to solicit information from Wuornos that might be used in the fight for her life but both times we saw her Wuornos told us she was guilty and ready to go. At the second meeting she told us that she was ready to die and didn't want anyone to keep trying to stop the process. When Sister Kathleen persisted in trying to get her to fight for her life she became angry and agitated and called for the guards to get her out of there about 40 minutes into our meeting.

I never saw Aileen Wuornos again but she did write to me once with an apology letter to pass on to Sister Kathleen and once a brief birthday wish because she thought my birthday was in March which its not its in May. I have both those letters and passed the letter for Sister Kathleen on to her. Aileen Wuornos never really had a chance in life but I really do believe she was guilty. She told us she was. And she said it might have been 7 men she killed or it might have been 50. She said she really couldn't remember.

Post your comments below about Aileen Wuornos.
Post your comments below about Aileen Wuornos.

Please post your comments now about Aileen Wuornos. What do you think about female serial killers.

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      Bettye 5 years ago

      So many people was mean to her. Not fair no wonder she was messed up in the head I don't think the system should of killed her there's worst people that should be on death row That's not

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      daveinsc 5 years ago

      I was all for her execution, I have since changed my entire view of capital punishment. I cannot see how 3 Dr.s could interview Wuornos and say she was not completely crazy. She was doomed at birth. I think the ugly dyke that was all to happy to live on the money she made as a whore and m0ney she took from those she killed, but when the cops came, she was quick to save her own ass. She should have been in a cell next to Wuornos.

      Aileen Wuornos was insane, anyone can see that, maybe we did her a favor by executing her. She was a prisoner of her own insanity, Tyiria Moore, in my opinion one of the ugliest women I have ever is not crazy, she knew what was happening, and did not say a word. She used a crazy woman and probably lived better than she ever had before. She really makes me sick. Ailleen was used and and betrayed by so many people, her grandfather should have went to prison for putting a minor out to fend for herself when she was what 14-15, and she was living in the woods, in one of the coldest places in the USA, having to prostitute herself to get what she needed. We killed a crazy woman, Allowed a sane, ugly, criminal to walk, just to send Ailleen Wuornos death row. I hope moore is living a miserable life somewhere. Also that crook who adopted Ailleen so she could get a percentage of money made from the story of Ailleens miserable life. Like I said my views on capital punishment has changed after seeing so many innocent people released from death row after spend decades in the hell that death row is, when they were innocent. We need to save the death penalty for real scum, like Richard Allen Davis, the freak who killed that 12 year old girl who he kidnapped from a slumber party she was having in her own home, and Richard Ramirez, and I could go on, we know those people are guilty and they are also not crazy. Maybe instead of killing Wuornos, we should have treated her many mental problems, save a ton of money that we spent just to get her on that gurney, and are we any safer she is gone? We killed a crazy woman. That is sad.

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      Pammy429 5 years ago

      Crazy stuff!!! She had to be really sick in the head. Doesn't matter how she got there. She was there!!!

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      haleydotmurphy 5 years ago

      another interesthing story!you should be an author on things like this!no wonder why people treated her badly....well written story!

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      Boris 6 years ago

      She did this, she did that.. She, she.. Where are all those men who raped her while she was 15, and all the people who did treat her as a rubbish instead of beein nice and polite while she has grown up.. There a lot of people like them still around, and they are quilty for nothing? how can you be nice and gentle while you never have no one.. when someone is so deeply in despair, it's hurd to feel and believe that life can be nice..

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      cristina 6 years ago

      Why talk so much about her after she dies? & not during her days alive in prison? The only thing that really counts now is where her soul is... 4 her own good; I just hope she asked CHRIST 4 his FORGIVENESS, LOVE & HIS SALVATION!! E/T else does not matter at all anymore, bcuz even 1,000 years on death row or living the crazy lifestyle (doing w/e the hell u want) on the streets, will never compare to "ETERNITY" I must admit her story was very interesting...yet real sad! I just saw the movie. I never met her, so I cannnot judge her, that I leave up to GOD.

    • SUSANJK profile image

      SUSANJK 6 years ago from Florida

      Once again someone abused by their parents turns into a killer.

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      Crimmajor 6 years ago

      Sonia, I believe her murdering those men justifies her being killed. Many people kill for different reasons. Some have great childhood some have bad ones but they still harm others. Why? It makes no sense and we will never fully understand why people do it but we will continue to punish people no matter their background when they are capable of making such a decision as to take someone's life whether it be through incarceration or by death.

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      Sonia 6 years ago

      She had a bad up bringing lived a horrible childhood I feel sorry for that.... people say killing all those men was not the way to go but what justifies her being killed....

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York does cost more to execute....because of all the time it takes and the appeals that must be paid for. Life w/o the possibility of parole,in my opinion is a far more horrendous sentence than being "put out of your misery." They should LIVE with their misery if we really want to punsih them!

      To, "unknown"....yes, a lot of people go through trauma and pain but don't KILL. Everyone is different in hundreds of ways and there are mysteries we'll never understand. Each and every human being must be viewed as the single, individual person they are. If you read of Eileen's life right from her birth....she didn't stand a chance in hell of having a positive life in any regard. There is no justification for murder except self-defense, but it's possible Eileen lived in CONSTANT SELF-DEFENSE MODE...not knowing anything else at all. Sad.

    • profile image

      Schrive 6 years ago

      I think it is sad on both sides. Most mental illnesses need a physical factor and environmental factors, which is probably why most abused people don't kill.

      Without the abuse element that began at such an early age, she may not have been a murderer and none of those men would have lost their lives.

      Obviously, she needed to pay for her crimes, but perhaps life in prison would have been better. There are people who study the physical makeup and mental health of serial killers, and it might have taken us all a step forward in understanding, detecting early, and preventing behavior with the idea that lives could be saved in the future.

      Also, from what I understand, it costs the taxpayers more to put someone to death than to feed and house a prisoner for life.

    • profile image

      unknown 6 years ago

      first of all a lot of people went through her pain as they were little but they don't go out killing men. and even though they were johns they didn't deserve to die.i read her bio and she even confess to killing these mens to her girl lover. and if they did raped her why didn't she report it to the cops. read her bio her real sister even knew the rapes wasn't true.

    • profile image

      unknown 6 years ago

      although her sad life could not possibly justify her for killing all of those men (i'm sure a couple of them actually deserved it), her story deserves sympathy; her perception of the world being such a dark evil place is what drove her to those murders. Since she was born she as a person, her life, was never valued by anyone, how could she ever realize the worth of human life if everyone treated her like garbage? Had she have had a less trauamtaizing childhood she would never have percieved the world to be so cruel. Anyone living thru that would come out screwed up. I feel for her, RIP Aileen.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Carol...It was reported, as I recall, that law enforcement attributed 7 murders to Aileen. But as it often is with "serial killers," we can safely assume there were probably more. In terms of a trial, conviction and sentencing, in most States, they only need one guilty verdict. If you read the very end of the above story, Aileen herself made the comment that, "It may have been 7......or 50." She couldn't remember. Bless her cold heart, ey?

    • profile image

      carol 6 years ago

      does anyone know how many did she kill???

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Another great hub, crazyhorse......How I loved the movie "Monster" with Charlize Theron playing Aileen so incredibly well, she won an Oscar. I can't help but feel sadness for this lost woman....she barely had a chance at growing up stable. "There but for the Grace of God...." I often think about that.

    • profile image

      Nataleigh 7 years ago

      R.I.P Aileen & God Bless x

    • profile image

      lilly 7 years ago

      i am doing a project on her and i personally think she is crazy

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      logic 7 years ago

      and if those men really raped her, did they deserve to be "put down"? Lets not forget, these weren't random men off the street, they were johns. And johns often abuse (and kill for that matter) prostitutes.

      Isn't it possible she decided to stop saying it was self defense because she just wanted it all to end, all her pain.

      None of us know the truth, but she was definitely painted by the media to be a monster and most fools fall for that. Even the pictures above disgust me. Do you think if you were videotaped for a long period of time you would ever make a strange face? So she wasn't attractive, does that make her a demon? The one with handcuffs was her PUSHING HER HAIR BACK.

      This kind of judgmental nonsense makes me sick.

      RIP Aileen.

    • profile image

      melinda fisher 7 years ago

      Well who will ever know what's right and what's really wrong......all i know is if an animal has rabbies they get put down for there own good and safety of others....well humans aren't any different really.....some people were either born reaally messed up in the head or spmeone drove them to that point! but that's just how I FEEL...

    • profile image

      Jennifer 7 years ago

      She didn't have a right to kill, just like she shouldn't have been killed... NO one does! The woman was just screwed up since ever and didn't know the difference between right and wrong. Poor woman.

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      Rosanna 7 years ago

      I do not feel sorry for her, neither do I despise her.

      Okay, sure, she had a bad life but that does not give you the right to kill. But neither do I despise her, she was just crazy and didn't know how to handle it.

      I just think it sucks that she's dead, cause I'd like to meet her and ask her a few questions.

    • profile image

      yolanda 7 years ago

      what she did was wrong but she had a terrible life so sad for both sides

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      Angelica 7 years ago

      She had a very sad life! She never had a good chance to live life happy...

    • profile image

      carwyn demaid 7 years ago

      man she scares me "/

      But thinkin of it , no one will ever know if she did actually kill for that crtain reason , either she enjoyed it , or she was actually abused as a child and later on in her life , In my opinion she does not deserve any respect because she killed many people , not knowing if they were the people who abused her or not , so the fact is , she may have taken innocent peoples lives , she deserved the death penalty through taking someone's life!

    • profile image

      jacqui 7 years ago

      She never really got ashot at life, being abused at a young age, i felt so sorry for her, all she wanted was some body to love and for them to love her back. RIP Aileen may your soul be at peace now.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile image

      Thomas Byers 8 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Thanks Mate. Yes it would indeed have been interesting if they had of put her somewhere safe and studied her.

      I have an FBI friend who says that the FBI believes that only about 25 percent of the serial killers are ever caught because the other serial killers out there prey on people on the edge like the homeless or the very poor that no one misses anyway. If that is true then there are many more serial killers out there killing than have ever been caught.

    • profile image

      Chris Friend 8 years ago

      Another fascinating Hub


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