The Case of Aileen Wuornos - The Facts
The Crimes and VictimsFrom late 1989 through late 1990, the bodies of 7 middle-aged white men were discovered in central Florida. The assailant had robbed all of the victims before shooting them to death and stealing their cars.
The first victim was shop-owner Richard Mallory in 1989, a 51 year-old white man who picked up a prostitute along Interstate 75 in Florida to engage in sex for pay. A Volusia County deputy discovered his body several miles away from his abandoned car. Mallory had been shot multiple times in the chest.
The nude body of David Spears, a 43-year-old construction worker, was found June 1, 1990, in Citrus County. He had been shot six times in the torso.
A few days after Spears’ body was discovered, the body of Charles Carskaddon, 40, was discovered in Pasco County. The part-time rodeo worker had been shot nine times in the chest and stomach.
Marion County law enforcement found the body of Troy Burress, a 50-year-old salesman, on August 4, 1990, less than a week after he was reported missing. Though the body was fairly decomposed, the medical examiner was able to determine that the cause of death was two gunshots to the torso.
Charles "Dick" Humphreys
A retired Air Force major, police chief and Florida child-abuse investigator, Dick Humphreys was found dead in Marion County on September 12, 1990. The body was fully clothed and had suffered multiple gunshots to the head and torso. Humphreys' car was later found in Suwannee County.
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.
The partially disrobed body of Walter Antonio, 62, was found November 19, 1990, in a remote part of Dixie County. He had been shot four times in the back and head. Antonio’s car was found five days later in Brevard County.
Aileen “Lee” Carol Wuornos was born February 29, 1956, in Rochester, Michigan. Her father was convicted of child molestation after her birth and a few years later killed himself in prison. Wuornos’ mother abandoned her and her brother when they were young, leaving them with her parents, Wuornos’ grandparents, and their children. Childhood friends said that Wuornos’ grandfather beat her and her grandmother was an alcoholic. At 11, Wuornos began trading sexual favors for money, beer, and cigarettes. She had her only child at 14; neighbors claimed the father was an older adult friend of Wuornos’ grandfather. The child was given up for adoption. Soon after, she began spending more time away from home, either living in the woods or hitchhiking around the country, often under assumed names. She was 14 when her family kicked her out of her house.
By the early 1980s, after her brother’s death from cancer, Wuornos moved to Florida to work as a prostitute. She frequently was in trouble with the law, for being a prostitute and for other crimes. By 1991 her record included (among other felonies and misdemeanors) arrests for illegal possession of a firearm, forgery, assault, and robbery. Her associates and law enforcement personnel often described her as erratic and easily angered. Her arrest records frequently noted “Attitude POOR.”
In 1986 Wuornos met Tyria Moore at a bar in Daytona Beach, Florida, and they began an intense romantic relationship that ended just before Wuornos’ final arrest in 1991. Wuornos’ relationship with Moore was her second relationship with a woman. As a prostitute, her clients were mainly middle-aged, low-to-middle-class white men.
Together, Wuornos and Tyria Moore sold stolen items at Florida pawnshops. During the murder investigations, Volusia County police discovered items belonging to Richard Mallory at a local pawnshop, with a receipt showing Wuornos’ thumbprint.
Police then traced other stolen items from Mallory to Wuornos. A camera from Mallory's automobile was found inside a rented warehouse unit, which was opened with a key taken from Wuornos. Wuornos had rented the unit under an alias. Police traced other items from Mallory's car to people or pawnshops Wuornos had contacted.
By 1990 Tyria Moore had become suspicious – if not fully aware – of Wuornos’ activities. Moore moved in with her family in Pennsylvania. When Wuornos was arrested on an outstanding warrant at a biker bar in Harbor Oaks, Florida, police tracked Moore down and used her to elicit a confession from Wuornos.
Next: The Trial