Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Story of Aileen Wuornos

The Story of Aileen Wuornos


Aileen "Lee" Wuornos is on Death Row in Broward County, convicted of the murder of six men. Lee says all of the men raped or attempted to rape her.


We Believe Aileen Acted in Self-Defense

At the time of the killings, Lee was working as a highway prostitute. All of the men she killed were men who picked her up and who, she says, violently attacked her.


Lee was picked up by many other men during this period and she did not harm them. Several men have testified that they spent days or weeks with her and she never threatened them. They did say that she was worried that they would attack her.


Prostitutes are much more likely to be raped than women in other jobs. One study of a group of prostitutes said that they had been raped an average of 33 times a year.


In the Seattle area, at least 65 prostitutes and strippers have been killed by the "Green River Murderer" who has never been caught. New York police recently arrested Joel Rifkin, who confessed to the murders of 17 prostitutes. When they stopped Rifkin by chance, the cops were not even investigating the disappearances of these women. Very few murders of prostitutes are ever investigated or solved.


We Believe Lee Did Not Receive a Fair Trial

Lee has been tried only once--for the killing of Richard Mallory--but has been convicted of six murders.


In her videotaped confession, which was the key evidence used by the prosecution in her trial, Lee said more than 60 times that she acted in self-defense. None of these references was included in the version of that tape which was shown to the jury.


The prosecution claimed that Mallory had no history of sexual violence. It was later revealed that Mallory had been convicted of attempted rape in Maryland, and had threatened to harm other women. Evidence of these prior attacks was not presented at her trial.


The jury was allowed to hear evidence of crimes Lee had not been convicted of.


We Believe Lee Was Inadequately Represented By Counsel

Her trial attorneys first failed to interview, and later failed to call, several witnesses who had volunteered information which corroborated Lee's testimony.


Her trial attorneys delayed in researching evidence of Mallory's history of violence against women. The judge then ruled it inadmissible because it was introduced too late.


Private attorney Steven Glaser encouraged her to plead no contest to five murder charges, without securing a sentencing offer or informing her of all her options.


We Believe Officers Involved In Investigating The Case Behaved Unethically

There is evidence that Volusia County sheriff deputies negotiated contracts for book and movie deals about Lee's case before she was even arrested.


Deputies arranged with Tyria Moore, Lee's former girlfriend, to set Lee up. Though Tyria was implicated in several of the killings, she was never charged.


Officer Brian Jarvis, initially the chief investigator on the case, was removed from the case when he questioned the conduct of his colleagues on the case. He later reported vandalism to his house, theft of his records on the case and threats against him and his family. We Believe Lee Is Not a Serial Killer.


According to the prosecution, portraying Lee as a "serial killer" won them the death penalty. Lee does not fit the profile of a serial killer.


No serial killer has ever claimed they killed in self-defense.


Serial killers stalk their victims; they do not kill in moments of fear or passion.


We Believe Sexism, Anti-Lesbian and Anti-Prostitute Prejudice Were Used To Condemn Lee To Death

Prosecutors made repeated references to Lee's romantic relationships with women. 80% of women on death row in Florida are lesbians. Though Lee does not consider herself a lesbian, society's fear and hatred of lesbians was used against her.


People have trouble believing that a prostitute would need to kill six times in self-defense. Yet recently, a Los Angeles store owner killed five men in four different armed robbery attempts. This man was never charged with any crime.


Tens of thousands of women are in prison in the U.S. for killing men who abused them. A study by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that men who kill their wives or girlfriends serve an average of 2-6 years, while women who kill their male partners serve an average of 15 years.


Ted Bundy, who killed more than 30 women in Florida, had offers from several well-known private criminal attorneys to defend him pro bono. At one time his defense team included five public defenders and a volunteer consultant on jury selection. Lee's supporters have been unable to find any such assistance for her; she has had to rely on overworked public defenders.


Demand Equal Justice for Aileen Wuornos

Write the Florida Supreme Court, 5th Judicial Circuit, 300 South Beach Street, Daytona Beach, FL 32114, and urge them to grant Aileen Wuornos a new trial.


Write letters of support to Aileen Wuornos, A#150924 DR1, Broward County Correctional Institution, P.O. Box 8540, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024.


Volunteer at or contribute to battered women's services or men's anti- violence programs in your community.


Contact the Aileen Wuornos Defense Committee, (415) 995-2392, 3543 - 18th Street #30, San Francisco, CA 94110 to find out how else you can help.

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