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How Forensics Solved The Case: Aileen Wuornos
Transcript of How Forensics Solved The Case: Aileen Wuornos
All of Aileen Wuornos' victims were middle-aged white males. Most of them had jobs that required them to travel along the highways of Central Florida.
The following is a link to our infographic:
This is the gun Aileen used to kill her victims. Police recovered the .22 pistol from a river.
Aileen Carol Pittman, otherwise known as Aileen Wuornos, was born on February 29, 1956 in Rochester, Michigan. She was an abused child who later earned her living as a sex worker. Wuornos' year long killing spree left seven men dead. Her life as one of Florida's most notorious serial killers was portrayed by Charlize Theron in the movie Monster. (Aileen Wuornos Biography)
Wuornos’ trial for the murder of Richard Mallory opened before Judge Uriel Blount on January 14, 1992. As a result of the ‘Williams Rule’ in Florida Law (which enables the prosecution to introduce evidence from other cases if they demonstrate a criminal pattern) jurors were made aware of the other murders in which Wuornos was suspected. Unsurprisingly, they were not convinced by the self-defense motive she claimed, and Wuornos further negatively affected her case when she testified in her own defense (against the advice of her legal counsel) when she was forced to take the Fifth Amendment repeatedly (Aileen Wuornos).
On January 27, 1992, the jury took less than two hours to find Aileen Wuornos guilty of first-degree murder.
Regardless of the claims that she was mentally ill and her behavior was a result of her tragic childhood, they recommended the death penalty.
January 31, 1992, Judge Blount sentenced her to death.
March 31, 1992, Wuornos pleaded guilty to the murders of Troy Burress, Dick Humphreys, and David Spears.
In June 1992, Wuornos also pleaded guilty to the murder of Charles Carskaddon, and added another death sentence to her total in November 1992.
February 1993 she admitted the murder of Walter Antonio and added her sixth, and final, death sentences. She was never tried for the murder of Peter Siems.
The Arrest and The Confession
Wuornos' lover, Tyria Moore, worked with the police to prove Wuornos' guilt. Moore wrote Wuornos a letter giving her the number of the hotel she was staying at hoping that she would call from jail, which she later did. Although Aileen began to suspect she was being tricked, she confessed on January 16, 1991. (Aileen Wuornos)
Wuornos had an extremely troubled childhood. She and her brother were raised by their grandmother after her father, a child molester and a psychopath, hanged himself in prison and her mother abandoned them in 1960.
At the age of 14, she became pregnant and claimed her brother was the father.
She gave the child up for adoption and hitchhiked across America as a prostitute.
Fell in love with Tyria Moore, a young waitress; the couple stayed together for 4 years.
The Beginning of the End
Wuornos’ defense team wanted her to plead guilty on six of the murder charges (all but Peter Siems, whose body was never recovered and whose murder she continued to deny, despite the evidence which conclusively linked her with his stolen car). This was supposed to be in exchange for six consecutive life sentences but the prosecution wanted to seek the death penalty and initially decided to try Wuornos for the murder of Richard Mallory because they felt that this was the strongest case against her (Aileen Wuornos).
Aileen's first known victim was 51 year old Richard Mallory. He picked up Wuornos on November 30, 1989. She claimed that he tried to rape her and as a result, she killed him in self-defense. His body was found on December 13, 1989 in a wooded area near Daytona Beach. He had been shot three times.
About six months later the nude body of David Spears, a 43 year old construction worker, was found on June 1, 1990. He was shot six times in the torso.
A couple of days after the body of Spears was found, the body of Charles Carskaddon, 40, was discovered in Pasco County. He was shot nine times in the chest and stomach.
The body of Troy Burress, a 50 year old salesman, was found on August 4, 1990 by Marion County law enforcement. He was reported missing less than a week earlier. Although his body was pretty decomposed, the medical examiner was able to determine that the cause of death was two gunshots to the torso. (Maclead)
Charles "Dick" Humphreys, a retired Air Force major, police chief, and Florida child-abuse investigator, was found dead in Marion County on September 12, 1990. The body was found fully clothed and suffered from copious gun shot wounds to the head and torso. His car was found in Suwannee County. (Aileen Wuornos- The Post Trial Period)
Sixty-five year old Peter Siems left central Florida and headed for New Jersey in June of 1990. His car was found in Orange Springs on July 4, 1990. Though Siems’ body has never been found, witnesses described two women near the car in Orange Springs.
On November 19, 1990, the partially disrobed body of Walter Antonio, 62, was discovered in a remote part of Dixie County. He was shot four times in the back and head; five days later his car was found in Brevard County.
A manhunt was initiated and
Wuornos was tracked down to Port Orange, Florida where local forces were called off from arresting her immediately so that a task force could track her movements and see whether or not she made contact with Moore. The next afternoon, January 9, 1991, Wuornos was arrested at the Last Resort bar where she was advised that she was wanted in relation to minor outstanding charges against Lori Grody. The press were not informed of the arrest and no mention was made of the murder charges at that stage (Aileen Wuornos: Killer Who Prayed On Truck Drivers).
Aileen Wuornos' Confession
On October 9, 2002, Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection at Florida State Prison. In her last statement, Wuornos said, "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 mother ship and all, I'll be back." She was pronounced dead at 9:47 a.m. Aileen Wuornos was the tenth woman to be executed in the United States since 1976 and the second woman ever executed in Florida (Aileen Wuornos).
This is an interview Aileen Wuornos did the day before her execution (There is some brief profanity towards the end of the clip).
In addition to her confession, there was very significant forensic evidence that made Aileen Wournos' conviction possible. The first piece of forensic evidence was a fingerprint (which classifies as a patent print- impressions of friction ridges that are visible to the naked eye) left after she sold items at a pawn shop (Durham). Jenny Ahern of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System found nothing on her initial computer search, but came to Volusia County and began a hand search of fingerprint records there. Within an hour, she found what she came for. The print showed up on a weapons charge and outstanding warrant against a Lori Grody. A bloody palm print found in Peter Siems's Sunbird matched Lori Grody's prints as well. All this information was sent to the National Crime Information Center. Responses came from Michigan, Colorado and Florida. Lori Grody, Susan Blahovec and Cammie Marsh Greene were all aliases for Aileen Carol Wuornos. Additionally, based on the radar gun and camera sold to the pawn store from Aileen Wuornos, it was very clear that Wuornos sold his belongings after she murdered him (Macleod 7). The second form of forensic evidence was the matching of ballistics (which is when forensic examiners use the marks left on bullets to math them to specific firearms. Detectives were able to connect the .22 caliber pistol to all of the victims. Aileen Wornos was convicted of six counts of murder.
How Forensics Solved the Case
Aileen Wuornos, was born on February 29, 1956 in Rochester, Michigan.
December 13, 1989, body of Richard Malloy, 51, was found.
June 1, 1990, body of David Spears, 43, is found.
June 6, 1990, the body of Charles Carskaddon,
40 , is found.
August 4, 1990, the body of Troy Burress, 50, is found.
September 12, 1990, the body of Dick Humphreys, 56, is found.
November 19, 1990, the body of Walter Antonio, 62, is found.
January 9, 1991, Wournos was arrested.
In January and March of 1992 Wournos was convicted and sentenced for the deaths of Mallory, Spears, Burress, Humphreys, and Carskaddon.
In February of 1993, Wuornos was convicted of the murder of Antonio.
On October 9, 2002, Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection.
Wuornos was arrested at the above pictured Last Resort Bar.
“Aileen Wuornos – Totally Insane A Day Before Her Execution.” YouTube. YouTube, 9 Nov. 2014.
“Aileen Wuornos – Confession Tapes.” YouTube. YouTube. 9 Nov. 2014.
“Aileen Wuornos.” Crime Investigation. Crime Investigation, n.d. Web. 9 Nov 2014. http://www.crimeandinvestigation.co.uk/crime-files/aileen-wuornos/timeline
“Aileen Wuornos- The Post-Trial Period.” Capital Punishment in Context. Capital Punishment In Context. 9 Nov. 2014. http://www.capitalpunishmentincontext.org/cases/wuornos/posttrial
Bio. True Story. “Aileen Wuornos Biography.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2014. http://www.biography.com/people/aileen-wuornos-11735792/videos/aileen-wuornos-conviction-20712003819#related-video-gallery
Durham, Lindsey. “Everybody Look At Your Right Index Finger.” Virginia Commonwealth University. Crime and Science 202. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.
Maclead, Marlee. “Aileen Wuornos: Killer who Prayed on Truck Drivers.” Crime Library. Crime Library. Criminal Minds and Methods, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2014. http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/women/wuornos/6.htm
Photos of Aileen Wuornos’ Victims and gun: http://murderpedia.org/female.W/w/wuornos-aileen-victims.htm