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Female Serial Killer Executed in Florida

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Female serial killer executed in Florida

Aileen Wuornos killed 6 men in 1990s

ASSOCIATED PRESS

STARKE, Fla., Oct. 9 — Aileen Wuornos, one of America’s first female serial killers, was put to death by lethal injection early Wednesday. “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 mothership and all. I’ll be back,” Wuornos said from the execution chamber. The Rock is a Biblical reference to Jesus.

‘I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.’

— AILEEN WUORNOS

WUORNOS, WHO was convicted of killing six men along Florida’s roadways a decade ago, dropped all of her appeals and asked the courts to let her execution proceed.

Officials said Wuornos didn’t ask for a special last meal, and was served the regular prison dinner of barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, tomatoes, and an apple crisp.

Wuornos told a judge last year that she’d kill again if ever released. But some legal groups have tried to stop the execution, saying that she was not mentally competent.

Ten years ago, when jurors convicted Wuornos, a former prostitute, of murdering six men who picked her up on central Florida highways, she shouted back a claim of self-defense.

“I’m innocent. I was raped! I hope you get raped!”

But one of the nation’s few female serial killers also admitted, “I have hate crawling through my system.”

“I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again,” she wrote in a letter to the Florida Supreme Court, which in April agreed to allow her to fire her attorneys and stop her appeals.

On Tuesday, the court unanimously rejected a request by an Ohio group that wanted to file an appeal on behalf of Wuornos. It did not give an argument.

The group, Florida Support, had asked the high court Monday for permission to file an appeal for Wuornos, whom it called “borderline psychotic.”

But State Attorney John Tanner, who watched psychiatrists interview her for 30 minutes last week, said she was cognizant and lucid.

“She knew exactly what she was doing,” Tanner said. “She is pretty bright, very quick and very deliberate — even now.”

ONLY ONE OTHER WOMAN EXECUTED

Wuornos joined Judy Buenoano as the only women Florida has killed since resuming the death penalty in 1976. Fifty-one men have been executed by Florida during that span.

Wuornos’ case has inspired movies, an opera and several books. It began Dec. 13, 1989, when the body of Richard Mallory, 51, a Clearwater electronics shop owner, was found in a Volusia County junkyard.

Wuornos, 46, said she had decided to rob a customer because she feared she was about to lose her lesbian lover and needed to raise $200 so they could rent an apartment.

Mallory picked her up on a rainy night. They drank, drove into the woods and fell asleep. When she awoke, she took out her gun, woke Mallory up and robbed him. Then she started shooting.

After killing Mallory, Wuornos laid low for several months until mid-1990, when she murdered and robbed her second victim on another rainy day. Over the next few months of Florida’s rainy season, she killed four more men.

Wuornos, who also claimed to have killed a seventh man, said she killed and robbed when it rained because it made her “nasty looking” and she couldn’t make enough money as a prostitute. She pawned some of her victims’ possessions.

Her five-county killing spree ended Jan. 9, 1991, in the Last Resort, a Daytona Beach biker bar where a plaque about her arrest now hangs on the wall.

‘THE DAMSEL OF DEATH’

Wuornos, nicknamed “the Damsel of Death,” was convicted of Mallory’s slaying and pleaded no contest to murders in Marion, Dixie, Pasco and Citrus counties. She received six death sentences.

“She was a homicidal predator,” Tanner said at her 1992 trial in Daytona Beach. “She was like a spider on the side of the road, waiting for prey — men.”

Billy Nolas, who represented Wuornos in that trial, said she suffered from borderline personality disorder as a result of neglect and sexual abuse as a child.

“She is the most disturbed individual I have represented,” said Nolas, who now practices law in Philadelphia. He said Wuornos was too mentally ill to comprehend what dropping her appeals and seeking death will mean.

Nolas said he believes Mallory raped Wuornos and that pushed her over the edge. Information on Mallory’s prior history of sexual assault was withheld from defense attorneys, he said.

For years, Wuornos claimed she shot the men out of self-defense while being raped and sodomized. Later, she recanted her claims, saying she wanted to make peace with God.

Fort Lauderdale lawyer Raag Singhal wrote a letter to the state Supreme Court last month expressing “grave doubts” about Wuornos’ mental condition.

Gov. Jeb Bush issued a stay and ordered a mental exam, but lifted the stay last week after three psychiatrists who interviewed her concluded that she understood she would die and why she was being executed.

Wuornos was raised by her grandparents. Her mother abandoned her when she was an infant and her father, a convicted child molester, committed suicide in prison.

By age 14, she was pregnant, claiming to have been raped. She was forced to give up the child and was turning tricks at age 15.

When she was asked about the killings at her competency exam, Tanner said the former prostitute replied, “I really got tired of it all. I was angry about the johns.”

© 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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