The Sad Truth About Aileen Wuornos' Parents

Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection at the Florida State Prison on October 9, 2002. As reported by Biography, Wuornos was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of six men. She was subsequently found guilty and sentenced to death on all six counts. Although she later confessed to killing a seventh victim, Florida prosecutors did not pursue any further charges.

Biography reports the murders took place between 1989 and 1990 along a number of highways throughout the state of Florida. Authorities said Aileen was engaging in sex work when she met, and eventually killed, her victims. The suspected serial killer was identified, and later arrested, after police found her fingerprints at the scene of one of the crimes.

In her initial statement to police, Wuornos said she killed the men in self-defense. However, she later pleaded guilty to five of the six murders.

Although it remains unclear exactly why Aileen Wuornos shot and killed seven men, it has been suggested that her difficult childhood may have been a contributing factor.

Aileen Wuornos' parents were largely absent, and her grandparents were reportedly abusive

A native of Rochester, Michigan, Aileen "Lee" Carol Wuornos' parents divorced when she was an infant. As reported by Capital Punishment in Context, Wuornos never knew her father, as he committed suicide while serving time in prison for child molestation. Orlando Sentinel reports Aileen and her brother were adopted by her maternal grandparents after their mother fled the state and moved to Texas.

Unfortunately, life with her grandparents was far from ideal. Capital Punishment in Context reports Wuornos was neglected by her grandmother, physically abused by her grandfather, and may have been sexually abused by one of his friends. As a result of the alleged sexual abuse, Aileen got pregnant and gave birth at the age of 14.

Following the birth of her child, who was eventually placed for adoption, Aileen Wuornos was reportedly kicked out of her grandparents' home. Left with few resources, Aileen became a sex worker as a means of survival.

As reported by Orlando Sentinel, Wuornos' claims of abuse were refuted by her adopted brother during her sentencing hearing. Barry Wuornos conceded that his father was the disciplinarian in the household, and he contended that he "never saw their father physically abuse Wuornos." During his testimony, however, Barry acknowledged that he moved out of his parents' home when Aileen Wuornos was 9  years old, and had no firsthand knowledge of the atmosphere in the home after that time.