Case Analysis: Aileen Wuornos
Samantha M. Rippey
Do you believe a person’s genetics or environment most influence their psychological development (behavior, habits, sexuality, personality, etc.)? This is the nature versus nurture psychological debate. The nature argument believes that a person’s genetics determine their development. An example of this would be someone extremely successful in school crediting their academic success to a family of intelligent people (genetic predisposition). The nurture argument believes that people are products of their environment. If a child grows up surrounded by criminals and ...view middle of the document...
While in middle school, it was discovered that Aileen had hearing and vision issues which contributed to her troubles. School officials urged Aileen’s grandmother Lauri to get counseling but Lauri refused the intervention efforts. The school attempted to control Aileen’s behavior through a tranquilizer, which unfortunately did not work.
During the next few years of Aileen’s life, tragedy fell on her family. Lauri Wuornos died of complications from alcoholism, Britta committed suicide, and Keith died of throat cancer. This left Aileen to fend for herself. At 14 years old, Aileen got pregnant and had a baby boy. She put him up for adoption soon after his birth. In 1976, Aileen moved to Florida where she met a wealthy man who she married. Aileen’s ways caused the marriage to end within two months. Lewis Fells, her husband had the marriage annulled.
For the next ten years, Aileen prostituted, committed forgery, and theft. Aileen became despondent over her life’s circumstances; she tried to commit suicide several times. In 1986, she met a woman named Tyria Moore at a gay bar. They ended up falling in love. Aileen continued to prostitute herself out. She did this to take financial care of herself and Tyria. When they were unable to afford a hotel room, they often slept in the woods. Tyria would sometimes find housekeeping work, but for the most part was content with Aileen prostituting to support them.
Aileen killed seven men in Florida while prostituting. All seven men had been shot with a .22 caliber pistol. Aileen claimed self-defense for each of the killings. She claimed each victim had assaulted, threatened, or raped her so the killings were self-defense. Tyria worked with police to get Aileen to turn her in. When Aileen’s case went to trial, the Defense had Aileen examined and it was determined that Aileen had borderline personality disorder. Her upbringing seemed to have ruined her. In January of 1992, Aileen stood trial for the murder of her first victim. She was found guilty. In March of the same year, she pleaded no contest to three more murders. For these crimes, she received three sentences to death. In June, she pleaded guilty to another murder. In early 1993, she pleaded guilty yet again to another murder. In total, Aileen received seven death sentences. Aileen Wuornos was executed on October 9, 2002 at 9:47am at the Florida State Prison.
It is safe to say that a lot of Aileen’s issues came from the situations she had to deal with growing up. Her and her brother were abandoned and went to live with their grandparents. Many children have a safe haven while living with their grandparents. They are showered with attention and love. Unfortunately, Aileen’s situation while living with her grandparents was anything but that. Her grandmother Lauri was extremely strict and used torture as a form of punishment. Lauri was aware of Aileen’s behavioral...