This Halloween, we'll be profiling 13 serial killers over the course of the 13 days leading up to Halloween. We're kicking day two off with another personal favorite. Have suggestions for our list? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the world of serial killers, there are plenty of men who can be ranked among the most brutal or grotesque people to have ever lived. However, there's been a surprising lack of female killers who have been able to boast about the same amount of brutality. Aileen Wuornos broke that stereotype with her many crimes, and she is undoubtedly the most brutal American female serial killer in history.
Wuornos began her life in Rochester, Michigan, before making her way down to Florida as a teen.
Wuornos had a tumultuous home life. Her father married her mother at age 14, and she divorced him two months after Wuornos was born. When she was four years old, Wuornos' mother abandoned her children and left them with her grandparents. According to investigators, Wuornos' grandfather abused and raped her frequently until he kicked her out of the house when she was 15.
At 15, Wuornos began to work as a prostitute, and she eventually made her way down to Florida.
She married an older man in 1976. The marriage didn't last long, as Wuornos was abusive. After the two divorced, the woman continued to rack up a rap sheet of petty criminal activity. In 1989, everything changed.
That year, she started her killing spree.
To an outsider, the killings might have seemed random and disconnected, but not to Wuornos. After she was arrested, she claimed that she killed all of the men to defend herself. She and her partner Tyria Moore were living in Daytona Beach at the time. Wuornos often hitchhiked up and down the highways at night to find her victims. There were seven in total, and some of them were convicted rapists. Others, however, appeared innocent.
Most of the victims were shot several times at close range, robbed, and dumped in the woods.
Wuornos and Moore were finally caught when they crashed the car that they stole from one of their victims. Police were able to lift fingerprints from the inside of the car and link them back to Wuornos. After being found guilty of one murder and pleading no contest to the others, she was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 1992. After various appeals, the sentence was carried out in 2002.
As one of America's first female serial killers, Wuornos' exploits have been chronicled extensively.
The most notable documentation of this killer's life came in the form of a star-studded film called Monster. Charlize Theron won an Oscar for her amazing portrayal of this notorious murderer.
Despite the fact that she suffered from mental illness, many psychiatrists still said that she should receive the death penalty while she was being tried. While what she did wasn't right, if she was actually telling the truth about the men she killed, she probably met a fate that she didn't deserve.