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Aileen Wuornos (February 29, 1956 – October 9, 2002)

Aileen Carol Wuornos was born in Rochester, Michigan. Her mother abandoned her and her brother in 1960. Their father was a child molester and psychopath. They moved in and were raised by their grandmother. Enduring a childhood filled with sexual abuse, Wuornos became pregnant in her early teens; she claimed her brother was the father. She gave the child up for adoption. Shortly after, her grandmother died. She began her career as a prostitute while hitchhiking across the U.S. Wuornos was briefly married to a man, Lewis Fell, before meeting and falling in love with Tyria Moore. Moore and Wuornos were together for four years and barely survived on Wuornos’ paltry income.

On December 13, 1989, the body of Richard Mallory was found in the woods of Daytona Beach. He had been shot multiple times. Six months later, another man was found along the highway in Citrus County. Shortly after, another man was found shot to death. Four separate calls to police labeled Wuornos and Moore as the killers. Wuornos was arrested in January 1991. Wuornos confessed to six murders, claiming self-defense.

A two-week trial resulted in a death sentence for Wuornos for Mallory’s death. She pled guilty to the additional five men and received death sentences for each murder. She has since admitted to the murder of Peter Siems. His body has never been found and she was never tried for this murder. On October 9, 2002, Wuornos was put to death via lethal injection.

Wuornos is considered America’s first female serial killer. In 2003, her life was made into a feature film, Monster. Wuornos was portrayed by Charlize Theron who won an Academy Award.