When we hear the term “serial killer,” we instantly think of a male figure owning such an atrocious label. Knowing what drives a male serial killer to act upon such heinous crimes, it’s fairly understandable why women have never beheld such titles. However, there are some incidents that state otherwise. This is the story of a female serial killer, Aileen Carol Lee Wuornos.

A woman whose life had been a mess ever since she was a little girl, fairly lived up to the most bewildering realities of life. Her whole family has been through a dramatic drift of events, which brought up significant consequences on her life. Aileen was born in a house of a young couple on 29th February 1956 in Rochester, Michigan.

Aileen’s mother, “Dianne Wuornos (born in 1939),” was only seventeen years old when she gave birth to Aileen and only fourteen years old when she married Leo Dale Pittman (Aileen’s Father). Aileen’s mother had filed for divorce two months before her birth, and therefore, Aileen never saw her father as he was incarcerated when she was born. If only Aileen could have known the havoc, she would have to suffer from before she was born.

Aileen belonged to an unstable family with a terrible reputation for endless crimes. Growing up in a devastating environment, Aileen had a rather bad childhood full of negativity and violence. Her own father was convicted of abusing children sexually. When he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, the man didn’t think twice before committing suicide. Aileen was deprived of a fatherly figure all her life and was hopelessly raised as an unwanted child in her own house.

Dianne abandoned Aileen and Keith with their alcoholic maternal grandparents at a young age. Her grandfather would not just sexually assault her but would also beat Aileen after forcing her to take off all of her clothes. Juvenile delinquency is unavoidable when children are exposed to things at a stage where such exposure is destructive, and that was the case with Aileen and Keith.

As a result, at the age of eleven, Aileen started indulging in sexual activities in her school for food, cigarettes, and drugs. The most devastating outcome of such misconduct was that Aileen engaged herself sexually with her own brother.
Living her life as a sex-addict, Aileen soon became pregnant at the age of fourteen.

Her pregnancy was a result of her being raped by her grandfather’s accomplice. Aileen gave birth to a boy and put her son out for adoption. She dropped out of school soon after abandoning her child and became a prostitute. She opted for prostitution after she was thrown out of the house upon her grandmother’s death by her grandfather.
Aileen found herself a home in the old woods and supported herself as a prostitute. By 1974, when she was 18, her crime spree began.

She used to get arrested for multiple thefts, robberies, assaults, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, and whatnot. She was often charged with failure to appear as she used to flee the scenes.Aileen moved to Florida and married a sixty-nine-year-old yacht president named Lewis Gratz Fell, and their wedding announcement was printed in the newspapers. To state the obvious, the marriage was a big mismatch, which was proved in just a matter of nine weeks.

The couple separated due to the increasing instability and violence as Aileen was repeatedly involved in confrontations in the local bars and went to jail on charges of assault. She also hit her husband with his cane during their brief time together, which eventually led to him getting a restraining order against her.

Even after moving back to Michigan, her miniature crime spree did not stop. Getting arrested and charged with multiple counts was becoming a habit. There came a time when Aileen gained financial stability as she received an amount of $10,000 from her brother’s insurance upon his death. Aileen got greedy and spent the whole amount in under two months. She spent the money on luxuries and even bought a new car, which was totaled just a few days later.Aileen-with-husband

Hopelessly waiting for a miracle, Aileen found love at a Daytona Beach lesbian bar. She met a maid, Tyria Moore, and they soon moved in together in a house which was mostly run by Aileen’s earnings as a sex worker. Tyria couldn’t change Aileen much as she was too allegedly involved in some of Aileen’s crimes. Minor changes are somewhat acceptable for a woman with her gut; there are brief arrests with a chance of getting out and improving…. But murder?

One man after another, Aileen started what looked like a killing spree as she was filled with a fire of revenge. She wanted to avenge herself from the men who raped or even attempted to rape her. Aileen was so stuck upon the idea that no one could’ve stopped her until she was finally arrested after her seventh murder.

She claimed that she killed all the victims in self-defense, which she could not prove in court. She had no methods, drives, or even any motives. The only motive was shooting the victim at point-blank range, robbing them, and fleeing the scene in the victim’s car. Due to her surging crimes, Aileen was often called “The Hooker from Hell.”

At a trial of one of the victims of Aileen, a psychiatrist was brought in by the defense to testify that Aileen was mentally unstable. The psychiatrist added that Aileen was suffering from a borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. The psychiatrist’s testimony could not help Aileen much, and she was sentenced to death after four days. Aileen received death sentences for six out of seven murders.

She remained on death row for ten years until she was finally executed on 9th October 2002 by lethal injection at Florida Department of Corrections Broward Correctional Institution (BCI).

When Aileen’s execution was near, she had an interview with a filmmaker known as Nick Broomfield. She told him that the murders done by her were a result of self-defense, and she could not stand being on the death row for any longer; she had been on death row for ten years, and at that point, she wanted to die. She even requested to dismiss her legal counsel and discontinue all legal proceedings.

She confessed in writing that “I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again too. There’s no chance of keeping me alive or anything because I’d kill again. I have hate crawling through my system… I’m 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”. Regardless of how many times she insisted on being sane, the panel of psychiatrists would make it seem otherwise in court.

Before death, Aileen developed many theories and started accusing prison personnel of talking about raping her before execution, tainting her food with urine, saliva or dirt, etc. She stated that “trying to get me so pushed over the brink by them I’d wind up committing suicide before execution” and “wishing to rape me before execution.”

Most of the serial killers indeed caught, let alone reported, are males, as compared to the number of women involved in serial killing. The case of Aileen Wuornos clearly explains the reasons which lead to a person committing these crimes; one of the most prominent reasons is living a life filled with instabilities.Aileen-wuornosThese instabilities could be societal pressures, fixations from the past, and several reasons which make a person mentally unstable, and eventually, most of the time, the only feasible path to such personalities satisfies themselves by committing crimes.

The focus should not be to just catch the ones doing this, but also partially shifting the focus on how to heal such people psychologically. Society, on the whole, needs to pay attention to this matter as society alone can resolve this issue by providing such underprivileged individuals with a better life.

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