Guest Author - Donna Johnson
Serial killer Aileen Wuornos first stood trial for the death of Richard Mallory, who was also her first victim. Her former girlfriend Tyria Moore testified for the prosecution, while Wuornos’ defense attorneys presented testimony from psychiatrists who claimed the defendant was not mentally stable. Just 13 days after the trial began, it was over, with a guilty verdict.
On March 31, 1992, in order to avoid further trials, Wuornos pleaded no contest to killing Troy Burress, Dick Humphreys and David Spears. She entered a guilty plea in the Charles Carskaddon case in June. Her final plea of guilty came in February 1993, for the murder of Walter Antonio. Wuornos received a death sentence for each of the cases, representing six of the seven men she is generally believed to have murdered. Since Peter Siems’ body was never discovered (and still has not been more than 20 years later), Wuornos never faced charges for his killing.
Wuornos initially appealed her sentences, taking her case all the way to the US Supreme Court. The Court denied her appeal in 1996, and five years later she decided to drop all further appeals. In a complete reversal of her prior testimony, she claimed to have killed all the men in cold blood, not in self-defense, an act she would repeat. After psychiatric evaluations found Wuornos mentally fit to receive the death penalty, she was allowed to forgo her remaining appeal attempts.
Despite the examiners’ findings of her mental stability, Wuornos’ behavior grew increasingly odd as her execution approached. She granted interviews to filmmaker Nick Broomfield, meetings that were recorded and capture Wuornos ranting about a variety of subjects. She claimed that prison officials were abusing her, trying to kill her and torturing her by creating unfit living conditions in her cell. In a particularly strange tale, she accused prison officials of using sonic pressure weapons to crush her head and either give her the appearance of a crazy person or actually drive her insane.
Wuornos also began to tell her self-defense version of events once more. She told Broomfield that she had been railroaded and that she, a raped woman, had been used for books and movies. She also professed to be ready to die, however, and to meet “…God, Jesus and the angels…”
Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002. Her puzzling final 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 mothership and all. I’ll be back. I’ll be back.”
The year after her death, the movie Monster, starring Charlize Theron in an Academy-Award winning turn as Wuornos and Christina Ricci as Selby, a character based on Tyria Moore, was released. In addition to Theron’s Best Actress Oscar, the movie earned awards from several film critics’ groups, the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild, just to name a few. Broomfield’s documentary Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, came out the same year and also received several awards.