Many of the serial killers which we have covered in our “Serial Series” blogs could have, or have been, involved in wrongful death cases. While the serial killers themselves are widely recognized across the nation, most people don’t know about the interesting in-depth facts that surround the cases. In this blog, we’re going to cover some facts regarding the famous cases of Aileen Wuornos, a female serial killer who confessed to the killing of seven men between the years 1989 and 1990.
Who Was Aileen Wuornos?
Wuornos had a tragic upbringing. She was born in Troy, Michigan on February 29, 1956, and resided with her 14-year-old mother, Dianne Wuornos. Her father, 16-year-old Leo Dale Pittman left two months before Aileen was born, also leaving her mother to raise Aileen on her own. Wuornos never met her father, as he spent most of his time incarcerated due to his schizophrenia and conviction for sex crimes against children. He took his own life on January 30th, 1960.
In January of 1960, when Wuornos was just about 4-years-old, her mother abandoned her, leaving her and her brother Keith with their maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos.
Wuornos began engaging in sexual activities at the age of 11 in order to get by, and at the age of 14, she was impregnated after her grandfather’s friend took advantage of her. Wuornos gave birth in March of 1971 and immediately put her child up for adoption. Months after her son was born, she dropped out of school and became a prostitute to make a living.
Wuornos was put in prison in 1974 after being pulled over while driving under the influence and firing a gun from her vehicle — two things that could have easily ended in wrongful death. She was arrested multiple times after this incident for several reasons including armed robbery, check forgery and auto theft.
Between the two-year span of 1989 through 1990, Wuornos posed as a hitchhiking prostitute and killed seven middle-aged men, leaving their bodies along the Florida and Georgia highways. After the murders, she would rob her victims and steal their vehicles.
Conviction and Death
After being arrested on January 4th, 1990, Wuornos admitted to the murders, however, claimed that she killed the men in acts of self-defense. She was ultimately convicted of the wrongful death of one of the victim’s admitted that she had killed for profit and not self-defense. Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection in October of 2002.
From books to TV shows and documentaries, Aileen’s infamous lifespan has been depicted in various different ways, most notably in the film Monster, where she was portrayed by Charlize Theron. To our knowledge, none of the victim’s families have sued for wrongful death, though they likely mourn the loss of their loved ones to this day.