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Professionals have used their training and skills to probe the minds of these extreme criminals have retrieved important information about motives, pre-and post-crime behavior, fatal fantasies, mental rehearsal, compartmentalized personalities, and the role of mental disorders. Thus, it has become possible to isolate recurring conditions and factors. From the first person who believed that criminals had self-insight, to today’s advanced technological approach, much has been learned from extended, engaged professional listening about how and why some people commit shocking acts of violence.
Wuornos’s troubled youth and emotional impairment led to sexual promiscuity, prostitution, a failed suicide attempt, and criminal record of fraud and robbery. She was responsible for six killings beginning in 1989, claiming they were clients who tried to rape and kill her (Dobbert, 2009).
Aileen Wuornos, 34 years old at the time of the murders, admitted to killing seven men in a one-year period between 1989 and 1991. It should be noted that Wuornos’ up-bringing can be described as nothing short of horrendous, and her borderline personality disorder could be partially caused by her traumatic upbringing and the physical and sexual abuse inflicted upon her. She met the criteria for borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. In Wuornos’ case, it is impossible to separate her abusive upbringing from biological predispositions toward violent criminality inherited from her absent father.
Wuornos’ past reads like the history of a Jerry Springer guest. She was born in a seedy Detroit suburb. Her mother ran out on her and a brother early on; her father, a convicted child molester, would later kill himself in prison. The children were sent to Kallikak grandparents, who enthusiastically continued the daily round of brutal abuse, physical and perhaps sexual. Mean streets furnished Wuornos all the education she ever had. By her early teens, she had already borne a child and given it away. After the termination of a hasty marriage, she returned to her maiden name-strangely alliterative with the oldest profession she had begun to ply. After squandering insurance money from her brother’s early death, she returned to the streets, exchanging sex for meager sustenance. She was occasionally arrested for various petty crimes.
The origins of Wuornos’ homicidal binge have never been satisfyingly elucidated. One could, for instance, blame a conflation of her horrific childhood, a genetic predisposition toward psychopathy and a periodic dissociated state after barely escaping death from her first victim’s depredations (Greenberg, 2004).
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