Born in Michigan in 1956, Aileen Wuornos is quite possibly the most infamous female serial killer in America’s history. Aileen murdered 7 men in just under a year, at first claiming that these men had raped her. She had been a sex worker at the time and maintained for some time that all of the killings were committed in self-defense.
Aileen’s life was troubled from the start and some people have laid the blame for her actions on her fractured upbringing. Her parents were married quite young and divorced not long after, leaving both Aileen and her younger brother with their very young, now single mother. After just a couple of years, her mother abandoned both children with their maternal grandparents and they were soon adopted by them. Both children believed that the grandparents were their birth parents, possibly due to their youth at the time.
At age 11, Aileen was told by her grandmother that she was not, in fact, her ‘mother’, severely damaging the relationship between the kids and their adoptive ‘parents’. Added to this grave injustice, was the fact that Aileen had been both physically and sexually abused by her grandfather, and he was known to make her strip before beatings. She was later raped by a companion of her grandfathers, which resulted in a pregnancy when Aileen was just 14.
After the birth of her son, and his consequent adoption in 1971, Aileen dropped out of school. She began to prostitute as a means of supporting herself shortly after, taking up residence in the forest near her old house. Just 3 years later she would face her first arrest on charges of disorderly conduct and DUI including unlawful use of a firearm.
Despite the horrid upbringing she had faced as a child, Wuornos showed psychopathic tendencies when she was tested by psychologists after her arrest for murder. It has also been reported that she was borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder as well. Some of this may have well been in her nature, as it was known that when she was a child, she had an explosive temper and had a hard time making and keeping friends.
After meeting and supposedly falling in love with a hotel maid, Tyria Moore, sometime around 1986, the pair began living together. It was after this that Aileen began to murder men, some say in cold blood, although Aileen gave varying reasons for her killing spree. Between 1989 and 1990, she killed a total of 7 men, all in Florida, shooting all of them at close range in the face.
After witnesses gave descriptions of the two women to the police following a car accident involving the last victims’ vehicle, there began a manhunt for the women. Media outlets became highly involved in reproducing their images and fielding tips from concerned citizens. In January of 1991, Aileen was arrested on an outstanding warrant in a bar in Florida and police located Moore in Pennsylvania.
In an attempt to clear the name of her professed female love, Wuornos confessed to the murders of all 7 men, although she was only convicted of 6 of those as the body of one of the victims was never found. She received a total of 6 death sentences and was executed by lethal injection on October 9th, 2002.