Aileen Wuornos: Female Serial Killer


The study of serial killers has been an important area in criminology. Although the United States has had several serial killers, Aileen Wuornos was the most controversial female serial killer. Aileen Wuornos’s notoriety as a serial killer was not only known in the United States but worldwide. Aileen Wuornos was born in 1956 in Rochester. In her early days, she was brought up in an unstable family. Due to the abusive condition she was being exposed to; she ended up being brought up by her grandparents. Her new home was not better as her grandfather was abusive while her grandmother an alcoholic. As a result of the poor parenting, Aileen became pregnant at a very young age and later took to prostitution.


Aileen’s criminal activities were conducted between 1989 and 1990. Within this duration, several bodies of murdered men were found in Florida. The bodies were reported along highways, both in central and north of Florida (Reynolds, 2003, p.31). The murders that were associated with Aileen’s serial killings included that of Richard Mallory, Troy Burress, Dick Humphrey, Peter Siems, David Spears, Charles Carskaddon and Walter Antonio. Most of the items belonging to the victims were found left at the crime scene or found in other parts of the city.


Evidence of the investigation of the six murders pointed at Aileen Wuornos. For example, the items used during the death of Antonio and Mallory had Aileen’s thumbprints. The evidence also revealed that before those murders, Aileen had been

involved in other crimes including a robbery in 1982. In her trial, evidence from similar murders was used.

Aileen Wuornos is in the category of serial killers. She is the first female serial killers to have killed as much as seven people. Her murders were unique in that, all the victims were male and also all the murders were executed in various parts of Florida. Because Aileen worked as a prostitute in Florida highways, she in her defense she claimed that she killed her victims for self-defense against rape (Reynolds, 2003, p.67). Aileen was found guilty for murder of six of her seven victims and given a death sentence for each. Aileen was executed for the charges in October 2002 and became the first woman to be executed for serial killing in Florida.

Analysis of crime scene, items found in crime scene, report and processing of investigations were very essential to the investigations. Aileen Wuornos was arrested on 9th January in 1991 after a warrant for her arrest was given. Assistance from Moore, her accomplice was very essential to obtain confession to the murders.


Researches on homicide do not give conclusive reasons as to why female participate in serial killing. Some investigations on female serial killers point to excuses and justifications in the murders (Vronsky, 2007, p.57). For example, some investigations point at women who kill as revenge against their violent partners. However, Aileen Wuornos serial killing was differ. The murders of the seven men are regarded as coldblooded since there were no justifiable reasons for them. In addition, the seven murders were made in a period of just one year while the victims were all men. Behavioral aspects of crimes are very relevant to the serial killing. Aileen early life in an abusive family and her life as a prostitute played an important role to her criminal life. Aileen attitude to execution also indicate to psychological problems.

Reference List

Reynolds, M. (2003). Dead Ends: The pursuit, Conviction and Execution of Female Serial Killer Aileen Wuornos, the Damsel of Death. New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Vronsky, P. (2007). Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters. New York: Berkley Books.

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