Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Aileen Wuornos: Killer Who Preyed on Truck Drivers


Wuornos did not stand trial again. On March 31, 1992 she pleaded no contest to the murders of Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress and David Spears, saying she wanted to "get right with God." In a rambling statement to the court she said, "I wanted to confess to you that Richard Mallory did violently rape me as I've told you. But these others did not. [They] only began to start to." She ended her monologue by turning to Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgeway and hissing, "I hope your wife and children get raped in the ass!" On May 15, Judge Thomas Sawaya handed her three more death sentences. She made an obscene gesture and muttered, "Motherf--ker."

In June, 1992 she pleaded guilty to the murder of Charles Carskaddon, and in November, she received her fifth death sentence. In early February of 1993, she was sentenced to die after pleading guilty to the murder of Walter Gino Antonio. No charges were brought for the murder of Peter Siems, as his body was never found.

For a time there was speculation that Wuornos might receive a new trial for the murder of Richard Mallory. New evidence showed that Mallory had served ten years in prison for sexual violence, and attorneys felt that jurors would have seen the case differently had they known this fact. No new trial was forthcoming, though. The State Supreme Court of Florida has affirmed all six of her death sentences. 

"I'm one who seriously hates human life and would kill again," she wrote in a letter to the Florida Supreme Court, which in April agreed to allow her to fire her attorneys and stop her appeals. According to the Associated Press, she was also allowed to choose lethal injection over the electric chair, changing the manner in which she would die.

CNN reported that Gov. Jeb Bush issued a stay and ordered a mental exam, but lifted the stay in the first week of Oct., 2002, after three psychiatrists who interviewed her concluded that she understood she would die and why she was being executed.


Hearse carrying Wuornos' body (Getty Images)
Hearse carrying Wuornos' body (Getty Images)

Associated Press reported that serial killer Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection at 9:47 a.m.,Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2002, more than a decade after she murdered six men along central Florida highways while working as a prostitute. The execution took place at Florida State Prison near Starke, Florida.

Wuornos, 46, was the tenth woman in the U.S. and the second woman in Florida to be executed  since the death penalty resumed in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Fifty-one men have been executed by Florida between 1976 and Oct., 2002. Judy Buenoano was the other woman executed in Florida during that time span.

"I'd 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 mothership and all. I'll be back," Wuornos said from the execution chamber. The Rock is a Biblical reference to Jesus.

For years, Wuornos claimed she shot the men out of self-defense while being raped and sodomized. Later, she recanted her claims, saying she wanted to make peace with God.

Wuornos also claimed to have killed a seventh man. Her life story spawned two movies, several books and the opera "Wournos," by Carla Lucero, which debuted last year.

Wuornos gave her last media interview just days before her execution, to British producer Nick Broomfield, who did a documentary on her in 1993, but she stormed out after about 35 minutes, Broomfield said.

"My conclusion from the interview is, today we are executing someone who is mad. Here is someone who has totally lost her mind," Broomfield said Wednesday outside the prison.

State Attorney John Tanner, who watched psychiatrists interview her for 30 minutes last week, said she was cognizant and lucid. "She knew exactly what she was doing," Tanner said.


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