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I robbed them, and I killed them as cold as ice, and I would do it again, and I know I would kill another person because I've hated humans for a long time.

Aileen Carol Wuornos (born Aileen Carol Pittman), a.k.a. "The Florida Highway Killer", was an American serial killer and robber.


Wuornos was born as Aileen Carol Pittman on February 29, 1956, in Rochester, Michigan. Her mother, Diane Pratt, married one Leo Dale Pittman when she was 15 years old. He was a child molester who spent most of his life in and out of prison before being strangled in jail in 1969. When Pratt filed for divorce after less than two years of marriage, she was given custody of Wuornos and her one-year-older brother, Keith. In 1960, she abandoned them and left them in the care of their maternal grandparents. Her grandfather molested her and she was later raped by one of his accomplices (resulting in her becoming pregnant and having his son). During her adolescence years, Wuornos had several sex partners, including her brother. She later grew up a petty criminal and prostitute and was arrested for, among other things, drunk driving, disorderly conduct, firing a .22 gun from a vehicle, assault, armed robbery, grand theft auto and was also suspected of stealing a revolver with ammo. In 1976, she hitchhiked to Florida, where she lived for the rest of her life. In 1986, she met Tyria Moore, a hotel maid, at a Daytona gay bar and later moved in with her, supporting them with earnings from her prostitution.

Murders, Arrest, and Execution[]

Last Resort

The Last Resort, a biker bar and the location of Wuornos' arrest.

On November 30, 1989, Wuornos committed her first murder and killed six more times over the course of a year. She was arrested on January 9, 1991, as a result of her being seen with Moore inside victim Peter Siems' car and her palm print was found on the interior. Also, the investigators found some of the victims' possessions in various pawnshops with Wuornos' fingerprints on them. Moore, having been tracked down in Pennsylvania, where she had been living with her sister, agreed to get a confession from her in exchange for immunity. During the trial, she claimed all of her victims were killed in self-defense when they tried to rape her. She later changed her confession, saying that only Richard Mallory, the first victim, had raped her and that the others "only began to start to". She was sentenced to death for six of the murders, the exception being her killing Peter Siems, as his body was never found. Upon receiving the verdict from the Jury, she said: “May your wife and children get raped, right in the ass.” On October 9, 2002, Wuornos was executed by means of lethal injection, aged 46.

Her last 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 mother ship and all, I'll be back, I'll be back."

Modus Operandi[]

Wuornos Pistol

The gun Wuornos used to kill her victims.

Wuornos' victims were males between the ages of 40-65. She would lure them with promises of sex and kill them by shooting them with a .22-caliber automatic revolver. She sometimes undressed them post-mortem and take personal possessions from them to later sell.

Known Victims[]

Wuornos victims

Wuornos' murder victims.

  • Unspecified dates: Numerous unspecified crimes, including drunk driving, disorderly conduct, firing a gun at a vehicle, assault, armed robbery, grand theft auto, and (possibly) gun theft
  • 1976:
    • Unspecified location in Florida: Lewis Gratz Fell, 69 (her husband; assaulted; hit him with his own cane)
    • July 14, Antrim County, Michigan: Unnamed bartender (assaulted)
  • May 20, 1981, Edgewater, Florida: A victimless armed robbery at a convenience store (stole $35 and two packs of cigarettes)
  • November 30, 1989, Clearwater, Florida: Richard Mallory, 51 (shot three times, twice in the left lung)
  • 1990:
    • May 31, Pasco County, Florida: Charles Carskaddon, 40 (shot nine times in the lower chest and upper abdomen)
    • June 1 (date of discovery), Citrus County, Florida: David Spears, 43 (shot six times in the torso and undressed post-mortem)
    • June (disappeared), Orange Springs, Florida: Peter Siems, 65 (his body was never found)
    • July 30, Marion County, Florida: Troy Burress, 50 (shot twice)
    • September 11, Marion County, Florida: Charles "Dick" Humphreys, 56 (shot six times in the head and torso)
    • November 19, Dixie County, Florida: Walter Jeno Antonio, 62 (shot four times in the back and head and nearly completely undressed post-mortem)

On Criminal Minds[]

  • Intro: Wuornos is among the many criminals whose mugshot is shown during the show's intro.
  • Season Two
    • "Jones" - Wuornos was first mentioned in this episode, and seems to have been a source of inspiration for the episode's unsub, Sarah Danlin - Both were serial killers who were sexually abused before their killings, targeted men, lured them with the promise of sex, killed them with a weapon (a revolver in Wuornos' case, a blade in Danlin's), and took items from them afterwards.
  • Season Four
    • "Pleasure Is My Business" - Wuornos was mentioned again by Prentiss and Hotch, who dismissed a comparison between her and the episode's unsub, Megan Kane, who may have been inspired by her - Both were serial killers who were abused by a paternal relative (Kane's father and Wuornos' grandfather, respectively), targeted older men (at least some of whom were in their 50s), used a ruse of prostitution to lure their victims (with one exception in Kane's case), killed at least one victim by shooting (though all of Wuornos's victims were shot to death), and performed post-mortem actions on at least one victim (Kane put lipstick on one victim's eyelids, while Wuornos undressed some of her's). Also, Kane committing suicide by poisoning could be a slight nod to how Wuornos was executed by lethal injection.
  • Season Seven
    • "Profiling 101" - Wuornos wasn't directly mentioned, but her mugshot is seen during the BAU's montage during a lecture at a college Criminology class.
  • Season Eleven
    • "The Bond" - While not directly mentioned in this episode, Wuornos appears to be an inspiration for one of the episode's main unsubs, Flora Martin - Both were serial killers who were born in the 1950s, were raped and impregnated (and subsequently gave birth to a son), both targeted men, killed them at locations along highways, and killed seven victims in total.
  • Novels
    • Killer Profile - Wuornos was one of the killers mentioned in Max Ryan's book Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: Profiling Why They Kill. She was also one of the killers who Daniel Dryden copied, using her first name while disguised as a woman and copying her M.O..

On Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders[]

  • Season One
    • "The Ballad of Nick & Nat" - While Wuornos was never directly mentioned or referenced on Beyond Borders, she appears to have been an inspiration for one of the episode's two unsubs, Natalie Knox - Both were female killers who claimed to have been raped by their adoptive father as children, were set off by an attempted rape as an adult, and killed their victims by shooting them.

On Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior[]

  • Season One
    • "Lonely Heart" - While Wuornos was never directly mentioned or referenced on Suspect Behavior, she appears to have been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Rachel Lancroft - Both were serial killers who were molested at an early age by a family member (a grandfather in Wuornos' case , an uncle in Lancroft's), became involved in crime in some way (Wuornos was a petty criminal, while Lancroft became a lawyer and later smitten with Marcus Graham), targeted men (mostly businessmen), lured them with the promise of sex, killed them with a weapon (a gun in Wuornos' case, a knife in Lancroft's), and both ultimately died at the end of their murders (though under different circumstances).