"I robbed them, and I killed them as cold as ice, and I would do it again, and I know I would kill another person because I've hated humans for a long time."
Aileen Carol Wuornos (born Aileen Carol Pittman), sometimes named "The Florida Highway Killer", was a female American serial killer and robber.
Wuornos was born Aileen Carol Pittman in Rochester, Michigan. Her mother, Diane Pratt, married one Leo Dale Pittman when she was 15 years old. He was a child molester who spent most of his life in and out of prison before being strangled in jail in 1969. When Pratt filed for divorce after less than two years of marriage, she was given custody of Aileen and her one-year-older brother, Keith. In 1960, she abandoned them and left them in the care of their maternal grandparents. During her adolescence years, Aileen had several sex partners, including her brother. She later grew up a petty criminal and prostitute and was arrested for, among other things, drunk driving, disorderly conduct, firing a .22 gun from a vehicle, assault, armed robbery, grand theft auto and was also suspected of stealing a revolver with ammo. In 1976, she hitchhiked to Florida, where she lived the rest of her life. In 1986, she met Tyria Moore, a hotel maid, at a Daytona gay bar and later moved in with her, supporting them with earnings from her prostitution.On November 30, 1989, Wuornos committed her first murder and killed six more times over the course of a year. She was arrested on January 9, 1991 as a result of her being seen with Moore inside victim Peter Siems' car and her palm print was found on the interior. Also, the investigators found some of the victims' possessions in various pawnshops with Wuornos' fingerprints on them. Moore, having been tracked down in Pennsylvania, where she had been living with her sister, agreed to get a confession from her in exchange for immunity. During the trial, she claimed all of her victims were killed in self-defense when they tried to rape her. She later changed her confession, saying that only Richard Mallory, the first victim, had raped her and that the others "only began to start to". She was sentenced to death for six of the murders, the exception being her killing Peter Siems, as his body was never found. On October 9, 2002, Wuornos was executed by means of lethal injection. Her last words were: "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."
Modus OperandiWuornos' victims were males between the ages of 40-65. She would lure them with promises of sex and kill them by shooting them with a .22-caliber automatic handgun, sometimes undress them, and take personal possessions to sell.
- Unspecified location in Florida: Lewis Gratz Fell, 69 (her husband; assaulted; hit him with his own cane)
- July 14, Antrim County, Michigan: Unnamed bartender (assaulted)
- May 20, 1981, Edgewater, Florida: A victimless armed robbery at a convenience store (stole $35 and two packs of cigarettes)
- November 30, 1989, Clearwater, Florida: Richard Mallory, 51 (shot three times, twice in the left lung)
- May 31, Pasco County, Florida: Charles Carskaddon, 40 (shot nine times in the lower chest and upper abdomen)
- June 1 (date of discovery), Citrus County, Florida: David Spears, 43 (shot six times in the torso and undressed post-mortem)
- June (disappeared), Orange Springs, Florida: Peter Siems, 65 (his body was never found)
- July 30, Marion County, Florida: Troy Burress, 50 (shot twice)
- September 11, Marion County, Florida: Charles "Dick" Humphreys, 56 (shot six times in the head and torso)
- November 19, Dixie County, Florida: Walter Jeno Antonio, 62 (shot four times in the back and head and nearly completely undressed post-mortem)
On Criminal Minds
Wuornos has been used as a reference by the BAU whenever they have dealt with female serial killers. Sarah Danlin, who copied Jack the Ripper, had a pathology nearly identical to that of Wuornos as they were both motivated by paranoia and fear of being sexually assaulted and used promises of sex to draw their victims close. Suspect Behavior unsub Rachel Lancroft's ruse for her victims is also very similar to Wuornos's. Additionally, copycat serial killer Daniel Dryden copied Wuornos' M.O. for one of his murders, even disguising himself as a woman and using her first name.
One noteworthy reference to Wuornos is made in Season Four, in which Hotch dismisses a comparison made between her and the case at hand, stating that the current unsub is organized, while erroneously classifying Wuornos as a disorganized psychotic (in actuality, she was an organized lust killer). Another reference is made in Season Seven, when her mugshot is one of many featured in a montage shown by the BAU during a special guest-lecture to a college Criminology class.