Aileen Wuornos, originally Aileen Pittman was born February 29th 1956, in Michigan, growing up in the nearby Troy area to the south. The young Wuornos experienced horrifying tumult during her childhood: Her father killed himself while serving prison time for child molestation, while her mother abandoned Wuornos and her older brother Keith, leaving them to be raised by their grandparents. Yet Wuornos’s grandmother was alleged to be an alcoholic and her grandfather a terrifying, violent force.
n 1974 Wuornos was imprisoned for driving while intoxicated and for firing a gun from a moving vehicle. She subsequently was arrested numerous times on charges that included armed robbery, check forgery, and auto theft. By the late 1980s she was a drifter. In 1989–90, posing as a hitchhiking prostitute, she killed seven middle-aged male motorists and left their bodies along the highways of Florida and southern Georgia; some speculate that she may have killed an eighth motorist in the same period.
Aileen was arrested in 1991, A media frenzy ensued over the case, due in part to the lurid nature of the crimes. During the trial, Wuornos asserted that she had been raped and assaulted by Mallory and had killed him in self-defense. Though not revealed in court, Mallory had previously served a decade-long prison sentence for sexual assault. She stated that her killing of the five other men had been in self-defense as well, though she would later retract these statements.
On January 27, 1992, a jury found Wuornos guilty of first-degree murder for the Mallory case and she received the death penalty. Over the ensuing months, Wuornos pleaded guilty to the murders of the five other men whose murders she was charged with and received a death sentence for each plea. Outside of court, she later admitted to the killing of Siems, whose body was never recovered.
Spending a decade on death row, Wuornos eventually opted to fire her appeals lawyers, who were working for a stay of execution. But a court-appointed attorney was concerned about comments made by Wuornos that suggested she was profoundly disconnected from reality. In 2002, Florida governor Jeb Bush lifted a temporary stay of execution after three psychiatrists deemed her mentally competent to understand the death penalty and the reasons for its implementation.
Wuornos was executed by lethal injection on the morning of October 9, 2002. Her cremated remains were buried in her town of birth.