Chilling book, hot summer weekend? Heads up: $1.99 eBook prices on my Aileen Wuornos book Lethal Intent have been popping up everywhere (thanks publishers!) during the sizzling start to summer but those low prices will soon disappear. So, check out Lethal Intent if you are interested in the world’s first modern day female serial killer — as defined by then current FBI guidelines: killing strangers, different locations, cooling off period between murders, etc.
When you see the smiling child Aileen once was, surrounded by her family in their Michigan home, it is hard to believe what lay ahead — for Aileen, and for the six or seven men whose lives she took. It is, and always will be, a controversial case. Despite her brutal actions, many feel sorry for Aileen, empathizing with her in a way that is understandable. Yet it’s rare for male serial killers to get any empathy no matter how much abuse they, too, may have endured as children.
Forensic evidence showed that Aileen shot her first known victim inside his car–where he sat behind the steering wheel fully clothed–firing a .22 caliber bullet into his arm. She shot from the passenger seat. The bullet traveled on through his body. Aileen leapt out of the car and ran around the front, firing again until he was dead. She then turned his pockets inside out, stole his money and possessions and car, covered him in a piece of raggedy old abandoned carpet and drove off into the night.
Killing during a violent rape does not jibe at all with the story Aileen told in her original confession to police and is worlds away from her testimony a year later at trial (I was in court every day). The testimony that she killed all her victims in self-defense and that it was *she* who was the victim didn’t fit the forensic evidence but it *did* come much closer to the scenario made famous by the movie Monster (for which Charlize Theron won an Oscar) in which Aileen murdered men during brutal rapes to save her own life.
I am certain she was raped but by whom and when, that is a tougher call. Aileen was a prostitute working the streets for years. Of course she was raped. She may have been raped when as young as eleven or twelve: that’s’ when she began charging local boys for sex.
Could Hollywood stand the brutal actions of the real life Aileen? I’m not so sure they could, hence the loss of Aileen’s “robber who killed” reality in the film and the focus on Aileen as all victim. Judge the evidence for yourself. As you consider Aileen dropping her appeals and being executed in 2002 after a wretched decade on Death Row, spare a thought for Aileen’s victims’ families too, just as you would for the families and loved ones of any murder victims. And please share your thoughts.
Yowza. (Is that a word?) GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm in British criminal justice parlance) was the last work from the late great British writer Ted Lewis, author of “Get Carter” (eventually a film starring Michael Caine.) Ted Lewis was a major talent who died young, apparently from alcohol-related issues, gone far too soon. His work was not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.
In GBH, Lewis colourfully inhabits rather than portrays British gangland brutality in the 1960s. I could feel the locations in my bones and dreamed about the book and about gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray and other notorious figures who stole headlines back then. (It wasn’t all tea and crumpets, that’s for sure.)
The novel is all the more chilling for the torture, not always graphically written (although there is plenty of that) but possibly because of what is not spelled out. Ted Lewis’s compelling writing helps you power through his last work. I really couldn’t bear to put it down.
Now it is behind me, I am still pondering the plot twists and just how he did it? I plan to go back to review a few passages to check out where I now, in retrospect, believe turning points in the plot may have lay in wait. If you are a fan of hard core crime fiction with a strong stomach (you will need it), Lewis was a master. As one reviewer suggested, Lewis’s viewpoint suggested that surely he must have been dangerously close at times to the world he painted on paper: too close to have made it all up. On that I won’t comment. Gangland brutality was a cloud shrouding areas of England: you only had to read the newspapers. But Ted took it to new levels.
His brief chapters–few exceeded three pages–accentuated the speed of the ride.
The city of Columbus and a group that works to free wrongly convicted people ended a years-long fight this week.
The city will pay $19,000 dollars for legal expenses incurred by the Ohio Innocence Project, which is based out of the University of Cincinnati school of law. Columbus will also pay the Ohio Innocence Project $1,000 in damages for illegally withholding public records.
Attorney Donald Caster, a clinical professor of law at the University of Cincinnati who works for the Project, explained in an interview with WOSU how the case unfolded and what it means for transparency in the state.
The below is an automated transcript. Please excuse minor typos and errors.
Sam Hendren: When did the Ohio Innocence Project first encounter resistance from the city of Columbus to public records requests?
Donald Caster: We’ve been encountering resistance from Columbus…
45 years after legendary outlaw skyjacker D.B. Cooper disappeared from a plane, believed to have survived and headed off into the sunset with a pretty haul of cash, the iconic mystery involving his fate is back in the spotlight. Could the case — what happened to Cooper? What happened to the money? — be solvable? A powerhouse investigative team that includes FBI experts set about cracking this sizzling cold case. This mystery has always intrigued me as it has so many so I will be reading “The Master Outlaw” by (okay, I’m biased, my pal) reporter Tom Szollosi and Thomas J. Colbert and hanging on every word. Better still, the book is a companion piece to a new History Channel documentary, airing Sunday July 10 and Monday July 11. “The Last Master Outlaw” has been called “spellbinding” and “jaw-dropping” by veteran L.A. news anchor Sylvia Lopez. It’s available for order, Friday July 8. http://tinyurl.com/jz449m7
Time is running out on this Goodreads Giveaway! Goodreads members (and membership is free) — enter by 11.59 p.m. March 9 for the chance to win LETHAL INTENT, the definitive biography of executed serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Had she lived, this Leap Year baby would have turned 60 on February 29. Instead, after a decade on Florida’s Death Row, she was executed in 2002.
She was both victim and victimizer. She killed 6 men; all strangers and a seventh victim. She confessed to killing him but in a drunken state and could not recall where she left him. His remains have never been found.
Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and one of the first criminal profilers, calls the book: “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.” https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/173286-lethal-intent
The Michigan house where Aileen spent her early childhood years.
Hard to believe that had she lived, executed female serial killer Aileen Wuornos — a Leap Year baby — would have turned turn 60 on February 29, 2016.
This truly rare murderer spent a decade on Florida’s Death Row before her 2002 execution. She killed 6 men; all strangers. Another victim’s remains were, by her own account, still out in the woods. She could not recall the location. To this day, they have not been discovered.
Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and original criminal profiler, calls Lethal Intent “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.” Listed on Business Insider’s “11 True Crime Books you should read if you’re obsessed with Serial,” It takes readers deep inside Wuornos’s life and crimes.