Aileen Carol Wuornos was a seriously disturbed woman that would become the first female serial killer in the United States. When you look at her life and study it, you can see just why this happened. Aileen really never had a chance at a normal life.
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It is almost like the world was always against her. Mental illness combined with an awful childhood was what raised a serial killer. Aileen, herself, knew that she would never make it in this world. I robbed them, and I killed them as cold as ice, and I would do it again, and I know I would kill another person because I’ve hated humans for a long time. (MLA)
Aileen Carol Wuornos Pralle was born in Rochester, Michigan on February 29, 1956. Her birth parents were Diane Wuornos and Leo Pittman. Aileen’s mother abandoned her and her brother Keith when she was only 4 years old. Aileen’s father, Leo was in jail for child molestating and later hanged himself in prison. He also suffered with schizophrenia throughout his life. Aileen never met her father because her parents divorced before she was born. Her maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta Pittman adopted Aileen and Keith. Lauri, Aileen’s grandfather sexually assaulted her many times. As a young child with little supervision and parental love, Aileen played with fire and burned herself causing scars on her face. At the age of 10, Aileen began experimenting sexually with her brother. When Aileen was 11, she learned that she could trade sexual acts for food and cigarettes. At the age of 14, Aileen was raped by her grandfather’s friend. A pregnancy resulted from this rape. She quit school when she gave birth to her son and he was immediately put up for adoption. At this point and only 15 years old, her grandfather kicked her out of his home and Aileen took to living in the woods. She became a prostitute to make what money that she could and to be able to survive. In 1976 at the age of 20, Aileen hitchhiked to Florida. It was here that she met and married a much older man named Lewis Fell. This relationship was tumultuous from the start. Lewis had to obtain a restraining order on Aileen. They were divorced 9 weeks later. On July 17, 1976, it is important to note that the one person that she cared for died. Her brother Keith passed away from cancer. Over the next several years, Aileen spent a lot of time in and out of jail for robbery, car theft, and passing forged checks. In 1986, Aileen met the love of her life Tyria Moore in a bar. Both Aileen and Tyria moved frequently, staying at hotels for as long as they could with the money Aileen made prostituting and eventually murdering men. Eventually, after Aileen was wanted and Tyria had put the pieces together she moved to Pittsburgh to live with her sister. Tyria also became the informant for the police to avoid prosecution. During Aileen’s time in jail a woman named Arlene Pralle became connected to Aileen. Mrs. Pralle and her husband legally adopted Aileen on November 21, 1991 with the hope of helping her. After years of appeals and on death row, Aileen Wuornos succumbed to her fate and was put to death by lethal injection in the Florida State Prison in Starke, Florida on October 9, 2002.
At Aileen Wuornos’s trial, the state psychologist testified that she had Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness/disorder that causes unstable moods, behaviors, and relationships. Aileen fit this assessment as she displayed anger towards others often and even tried to commit suicide 6 times in her life. Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), also called sociopathy is a mental health disorder that is characterized by disregard for other people. (Mayo Clinic, )(MLA format) Aileen never thought about other people in the moment. Some additional experts stated that she had impaired capacity and mental disturbance during the crimes she committed. Aileen additionally has a low IQ noted since childhood. She did not receive any psychological treatment and received six death sentences.
In 1989-1990 there were 7 dead bodies discovered in Florida. The common link being that they all had been shot. The first victim was found in 1989. The body was that of 51 year old Richard Mallory. He was found a couple of miles away from his car. The cause of death was determined to be multiple shots to his chest. The second victim was 43 year old David Spears who was found on June 1, 1990. He had been shot six times in the torso. The third victim was 40 year old Charles Carskaddon. He was found a few days after the body of David Spears was found in Pasco County. The fourth victim, 50 year old Troy Burress was found on August 4, 1990 in Marion County. His body was fairly decomposed and was found to have two shots to the torso. The fifth victim was 56 year old Charles Dick Humphreys who was found in Marion County on September 12, 1990. He had multiple shots to his head and torso. His car was found later in Suwannee County. The sixth victim was 65 year old Peter Siems. It was noted that Siems was on his way to New Jersey from Florida in June of 1990. His body was never recovered, but the car was found in Orange County on July 4, 1990 after Aileen and Tyria crashed it. The seventh and final victim was 62 year old Walter Antonio. He was found on November 19, 1990 in Dixie County. He was shot four times in the back and head. His car was found 5 days later in Brevard County.
Aileen had already been in jail a few times for robbery, car theft and passing forged checks before she starting committing murders. She already had many run ins with the police and had a record. When Aileen killed Peter Sims she and Tyria stole his car and ended up crashing it. The women tried to get rid of all the evidence. Despite their best efforts they were tracked down by the fingerprints and palm prints that were left in the car. When Aileen was captured her behavior was as defiant as usual and some describe it as bizarre.
Aileen claims that she killed all 7 victims in self-defense and had a substantial story made up for each one. Aileen Wuornos was charged by a jury for six of the seven murders on January 13, 1992. The deliberation took just 2 hours. The jury found her guilty on all counts of first degree murder and armed robbery. Aileen’s anger could be felt when she yelled, Sons of Bitches! I was raped! I hope you get raped. Scumbags of America! (MLA Format) Each murder charge carried with it a death sentence. Aileen spent the next 10 years on a stay of execution while trying to get a retrial. During this time it was found that Richard Mallory was a known rapist. He had served 10 years in prison previously for rape. It is important to note that the story Aileen told about Richard raping her could have been true. Arlene Pralle who adopted her defended Aileen’s self-defense plea in this murder.
Nurture had a larger impact on Aileen’s life then nature did, although Aileen’s environment had a factor in making her into who she was destined to be. There is no doubt that she had a bad childhood. She never really had unconditional love from her parents. No one in her life ever taught her right from wrong without physical punishment. She never understood what love meant or was because no one ever loved her in the sense of the word. People always took from her and she rarely ever received much. All the people that should have cared about her from the start never protected her. All Aileen Wuornos ever really wanted in life was someone to love and to love her in return. She spent her whole life searching for this. Even though Aileen Wuornos committed horrible crimes, she almost deserves some compassion because she really did not stand a chance in this world. And I’m really sorry about everything I’ve done. I miss Ty…I lost Tyria over this, and the people that lost their loved ones and everything, I really think first about the people that lose their loved ones and then Tyria second. I have to put them first on this whole thing. I’m really sorry for, you know, them losing their loved ones man. I know the feeling. (MLA)
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