The First Female Serial Killer
“ Id just like to say Im sailing with the rock, and Ill be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6, like the movie, big mother ship and all, Ill be back. “
Aileen Wuornos was born as Aileen Carol Pittman in Rochester, Michigan, on February 29, 1956. Her mother, Diane Wuornos, was 15 years old when she married Aileen's father, Leo Dale Pittman on June 3, 1954. Less than two years later, and two months before Wuornos was born, Diane filed for divorce. Aileen had an older brother named Keith, who was born in February 1955. Wuornos never met her father, because he was in prison for the rape and attempted murder of an eight-year-old boy when she was born. Leo Pittman was considered to be a schizophrenic, who was convicted of sex crimes against children, was in and out of prison, and hanged himself in prison in 1969.In January 1960, when Aileen was almost 4 years old, Diane abandoned her children, leaving them with their grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos, who legally adopted Keith and Aileen on March 18, 1960. At age 12, Wuornos engaged in sexual activities in school in exchange for cigarettes, drugs, and food.
Aileen had also engaged in sexual activities with her own brother. Wuornos claimed that she was sexually assaulted and beaten as a child by her grandfather. Aileen's grandfather was an alcoholic. Before beating her, he would force her to strip out of her clothes. In 1970, she became pregnant at 14, having been raped by a friend of her grandfather.
Wuornos gave birth at a home for unwed mothers, and the child was placed for adoption. A few months after her baby was born, Aileen dropped out of school as her grandmother died of liver failure and Aileen and her brother became in and out of the court. When she was 15, her grandfather threw her out of the house and she began supporting herself as a prostitute and living in the woods near her old home.
In 1976, Wuornos hitchhiked to Florida, where she met 69-year-old yacht club president Lewis Gratz Fell. They married that same year, and the announcement of their marriage was printed in the society pages of the local newspaper. However, Wuornos continually involved herself in confrontations at their local bar and eventually went to jail for assault. She also hit Fell with his own cane, leading him to get a restraining order against her. After seeing Wuornos on television prior to her first trial, a 44-year-old born-again-Christian woman named Arlene Pralle felt compelled to contact Aileen. She claimed Jesus told her to do so.
Pralle quickly became an outspoken advocate of Wuornos, speaking with her daily and claiming her innocence on talk shows. Pralle legally adopted Wuornos as her daughter; Wuornos even had a legal name change to take the name Pralle, taking the full name Aileen Carol Pittman Wuornos Pralle. Eventually, Pralle abandoned Wuornos.
Between December 1989 and September 1990, the bodies of several men were found murdered along the highways of northern and central Florida, Including Richard Mallory, Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, David Spears, Walter Gino Antonio, Peter Siems, Charles Carskaddon. Items belonging to Mallory and Antonio were pawned near Daytona Beach and the alias names used were to traced to Wuornos through thumbprints left on the pawn shop cards. Wuornos confessed to the murder of all six men, claiming that she was picked up by the men when she was working as a highway prostitute, and shot them in self defense after they attempted to sexually assault her. Wuornos was convicted of the murder of Richard Mallory after a jury trial in Volusia County and was sentenced to death. At trail, the state was allowed to introduce similar crimes evidence about Wuornos’ commission of several other murders. While on death row, it was discovered that Mallory had previously served time for attempted rape. Wuornos pleaded no contest to the murders of the other five men and was sentenced to...