1. Archive

Killer closer to goal: her own death

Sobbing that "there's no sense in keeping me alive," serial killer Aileen Wuornos won a court victory Friday in her bid to fire her attorneys and hasten her execution.

"I am a serial killer. I would kill again," Wuornos said during 1{ hours on the witness stand.

She said she wants to fire her state-appointed attorneys and end her appeals because she wants to come clean and make peace with God.

"I wanted to clear all the lies and let the truth come out," she said. "I have hate crawling through my system."

Circuit Judge Michael Hutcheson said he will recommend to the Florida Supreme Court that Wuornos is competent to make such a decision. That could put her on the "fast track" to be executed, he told Wuornos.

"I'm not scared by it," Wuornos said. "I know what the heck I'm doing."

Wuornos, 45, was sentenced to death six times for killing middle-aged men in Dixie, Citrus, Marion and Volusia counties when she worked as a prostitute along the highways of Central Florida in 1989 and 1990. She has been on death row for nearly a decade.

Wuornos, the subject of a television movie, Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story, and an opera that recently opened in San Francisco, testified during her 1992 trial that she killed men who assaulted her and made her fear for her life.

But Friday, she said she lied during her testimony in an attempt to beat the system.

"I killed those men in the first degree, robbed and killed them."

She apologized to her victims' families and said there is no point in spending more taxpayer money on her defense.

"There's no sense in keeping me alive," she said. "This world doesn't mean anything to me."

She lambasted her attorneys with the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel. She said that in an effort to spare her life, they told lies, saying she was raped by her father and that her mother was an alcoholic. Former childhood acquaintances testified at a hearing in February that she had been sexually abused.

Wuornos praised the police officers who arrested her and the prosecutors who tried her.

One of her attorneys, Richard Kiley, said Wuornos doesn't understand the ramifications of what she is doing and that her behavior raises questions about her mental health.

Lawyers from the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, the state agency that handles death sentence appeals, said they won't be able to represent Wuornos if the Florida Supreme Court rules in her favor.

Letha Prater, whose 50-year-old brother, Troy Burress, was killed by Wuornos in 1989, said she is glad the decision would end the appeals.

"I don't hate her. I hate what she did," Prater said. "Hatred is lost on her."

Wuornos had the opportunity to end her appeals at a hearing in February, when a judge ruled that she was competent to make decisions about her case. She chose to continue her appeals, later saying her lawyers misled her about her ability to drop them.

She wrote to the Florida Supreme Court asking for an end to her appeals, and the court ordered Friday's hearing.