Did you know that one of the most infamous serial killers in American history was a woman?
In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of Aileen Wuornos facts, an extremely tragic story of a female serial killer.
1. She was born on leap day
Aileen Wuornos was born on leap day, February 29, in the year 1956, as Aileen Carol Pittman. She was born in Rochester in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan.
At birth, she received the surname of her father, Leo Dale Pittman, but took on her mother’s surname after she moved in with her maternal grandparents.
2. Her parents were extremely young
To say that her parents weren’t ready to become a parent is an understatement. Her mother Diane Wuornos, who is of Finnish descent, was born in 1939 which means she was just 16 years old when she had Aileen.
Her father Leo Dale Pittman (1937–1969), was of English descent, and just a couple of years older. What makes it worse is that Aileen wasn’t their first child as her mother gave birth to her brother Keith 2 years earlier in 1954.
This means that the two teenagers had two children at a very young age.
3. Her father was a paranoid schizophrenic
What makes the situation yet more tragic is that her father was also diagnosed with schizophrenia, as if being so young wasn’t enough to be unfit for being a parent of two children.
But that’s not all, he was also a convicted child abuser who was sent to prison and ended up hanging himself in his cell on January 30, 1969.
4. Her mother abandoned her at the age of 4
When Aileen was just 4 years old, her mother had enough of raising her two children and she dropped them both off at her grandparent’s house.
Lauri and Britta Wuornos legally adopted Aileen and her brother Keith on March 18, 1960, who took on the surname of her grandfather as well.
5. Her grandparents were both alcoholics
The little girl must have been so happy to get new parents (who were actually her maternal grandparents) after her real parents failed to raise her.
Not so much. Both of them were severe alcoholics, proven by the fact that her grandmother drank herself to death and died of liver failure just 10 years after she adopted Aileen.
To make things even worse, Aileen claimed that her grandfather beat her up and made her undress just before doing so, even though there has never been any concrete evidence for this. She also claimed that her grandfather sexually assaulted her at a very young age.
6. She became a prostitute at a very young age
This sexual abuse resulted in the fact that Aileen was sexually mature at a very young age, and figured out to use this for her benefit while entering high school.
One of the most astounding Aileen Wuornos facts is that she claimed that she became a prostitute and exchanged sexual services for money, food, drugs, and cigarettes, at the age of 11.
7. She became a teenage mother but her son was adopted
This behavior resulting in the fact that Aileen became a mother at the age of 14. She gave birth to a baby boy on March 23, 1971, in a home for unwed mothers. She didn’t suffer the same faith as her mother because the baby was instantly put up for adoption and she never saw him again.
Then, tragedy struck as the alcohol finally got the better of her grandmother and she passed away the same year, resulting in Aileen being kicked out of the house at the age of 15.
One of the most tragic Aileen Wuornos facts is that she literally became homeless and a full-time prostitute in this period!
8. She married a 69-year old yacht club president at age 20
After numerous years on the streets and being sent to prison for the first time (something which happened frequently), she finally struck gold. In 1976, she met a man named Lewis Gratz Fell who was the president of a yacht club in Florida.
Somehow, the 20-year old prostitute Aileen managed to convince the 69-year old Fell to marry her, which happened just a few weeks after they met.
Would her life finally change for the better?
9. Wuornos abused her husband 2 weeks after they got married
Her troubled childhood and subsequent teenage years couldn’t simply be erased. It changed her perception of the world and the way she treated people. This didn’t change just because she got married to an old rich man.
Just weeks after they got married, she caused trouble and beat Fell with his own cane, resulting in him acquiring a restraining order against her. The marriage was annulled on July 21, 1976, the very same year, and she returned to Michigan.
10. She lived a life of crime after her marriage was annulled
The moment she returned to Michigan, she caused trouble in a bar and threw a billiard ball at the bartender. This happened on July 14, 1976.
Just 3 days later, on July 17, her brother Keith died of esophageal cancer and she received a huge check (at that time) of $10,000 from his life insurance policy.
She spent all the money in just 2 months, most of it on a new car which she wrecked shortly after!
11. She moved in with her girlfriend a few years before the murders started
Did Aileen Wuornos ever find true love in her life?
After all, it’s hard to believe that she loved the old man she married, and her troubled history as a prostitute made her hate just about every man on the planet.
In 1986, she met Tyria Moore, a lesbian who Aileen claimed was the love of her life. Up until the day of her execution, she claimed that she still loved her.
12. Aileen Wuornos murdered 7 men within a year
Aileen’s murder spree started on November 30, 1989. It’s then that she murdered Richard Charles Mallory by shooting him with her .22 pistol. Mallory had been a convicted rapist and Wuornos claimed that he tried to rape her while they were inside his car.
She would murder 6 more men, the last one being Walter Jeno Antonio who was found with 4 gunshot wounds nearly a year after the first murder took place on November 19, 1990.
One of the most remarkable Aileen Wuornos facts is that she murdered all 7 men while she was working as a prostitute to support herself and her girlfriend!
13. She was arrested at a biker bar named “The Last Resort”
Another tragic moment in Aileen’s life wasn’t just that she was arrested on January 9, 1991, but also the fact that she was arrested in a biker bar named “The Last Resort.”
This bar is located in Volusia County, just north of Orlando in the east-central part of Florida.
14. Her girlfriend helped the police to make her confess
The day after Aileen was arrested, her girlfriend was apprehended as well and she made a deal with the police. If she was able to elicit a confession from Wuornos, she would be given immunity for the crimes.
Just a week after being arrested, and after several phone calls with her girlfriend, Aileen confessed to all murders on January 16, 1991, claiming she had killed all men in self-defense as they attempted to rape her.
15. Wuornos received 6 death sentences
All of the psychiatrists agreed that Aileen Wuornos was mentally unstable, something that should have been very clear if you see the horrible circumstances she grew up in.
The fact that it was proven that she suffered from a borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder didn’t matter, and she was sentenced to 6 death penalties after being found guilty of 6 counts of first-degree murder.
16. She was diagnosed as a true psychopath
Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that she didn’t just suffer from several mental disorders, but also that she could be considered to be a true psychopath. Wuornos scored a 32/40 on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist.
To give some reference to this number, somebody is considered to be a psychopath with a score of 25 in the United Kingdom and 30 in the United States.
One of the people that scored highest on this test was serial killer Ted Bundy with a score of 39/40.
17. These were Aileen Wuornos’ last words
Less than a decade after Aileen Wuornos was sentenced to death, on October 9, 2002, she received a lethal injection which put an end to her troubled life.
Up until the moment she died she claimed to be monitored by external forces, clearly indicating she suffered from severe mental problems, even though she claimed this wasn’t true in a letter:
I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again, too. There’s no chance in keeping me alive or anything because I’d kill again. I have hate crawling through my system…I am so sick of hearing this ‘she’s crazy’ stuff. I’ve been evaluated so many times. I’m competent, sane, and I’m trying to tell the truth. I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.”Aileen Wuornos in a petition letter to the Supreme Court.
Her last words were a testimony to this as well:
Yes, I would just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back, like Independence Day, with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I’ll be back, I’ll be back.Final words of Aileen Wuornos.
This concludes the ultimate list of Aileen Wuornos facts.
It’s hard to judge whether or not she was a born psychopath or she became one due to the extremely harsh conditions during her youth. Either way, her story is one of the most tragic of all serial killers in history!