If you’ve seen “Monster,” you know a little about Aileen Wuornos, the killer prostitute from Florida.
But while the Hollywood movie depicted Wuornos as a victim of her circumstances, her long criminal history of assaulting men is inexcusable.
As a little girl, Wuornos never met her father. He was in prison for sex crimes against children when she was born, and he later hanged himself in his cell. When she was four years old, she and her siblings were abandoned by their mother and left to live with their grandparents in Michigan.
By the time she was 11, Wuornos was already exchanging sexual favors for food, drugs, and cigarettes at school. She did once say that her grandfather beat and sexually assaulted her while she was living with him. One of his friends even raped her, causing her to become pregnant at 14 years old.
After she gave her newborn son up for adoption, she dropped out of school and her grandfather kicked her out of the house. At 15, she became a prostitute and lived in the woods near her grandparents’ home.
As soon as Wuornos turned 18 in 1974, she was arrested in Colorado for a DUI, disorderly conduct, and firing her .22-caliber pistol from her car as she was driving.
When she hitchhiked to Florida in 1976, she was arrested again multiple times over the years for several assaults, drunk driving, car theft, check forgery, and armed robbery. One man even accused her of threatening him with a gun in his car in 1986.
However, it wasn’t until she met Tyria Moore at a Daytona gay bar that she actually murdered anyone. When the two became romantically involved and moved in together around 1987, Wuornos supported them with the money she earned from prostituting.
About two years later, Wuornos murdered her first victim, Richard Mallory, who was a convicted rapist. They were in the middle of exchanging money for sex when she shot him to death. His body was later found in a wooded area a few miles away.
Between June and November of 1990, Wuornos went on to murder six more men, later claiming that she only shot them in self-defense because they were trying to rape and kill her.
Her rampage finally came to an end when eyewitnesses saw her and Moore abandoning one victim’s car after getting into an accident. Wuornos had left fingerprints on it, so because of her criminal history, police were able to identify and later arrest her at the Last Resort bar in 1991.
Police promised Moore immunity if she would help them get a confession from Wuornos, so she agreed and called her multiple times, begging that she help clear her name. Just a few days later, Wuornos confessed to all of the murders.
Wuornos was convicted of murder for six of her killings and received six death sentences. The body of the seventh victim whose car she had stolen was never found.
While she was on death row, her story about what had happened with those men changed multiple times. It became obvious that she was mentally unstable right up to her execution in 2002. In fact, psychiatrists testified at her first trial that she had borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
You really have to wonder whether she would have murdered in the first place if she’d gotten proper treatment for her mental illnesses.
Unfortunately, that is something we will never know.