Wuornos’ defence team were keen for her to plead guilty on six of the murder charges (all but Peter Siems, whose body was never recovered and whose murder she continued to deny, despite the evidence which conclusively linked her with his stolen car) in exchange for six consecutive life sentences, but the prosecution were keen to seek the death penalty, and decided to try Wuornos, initially, for the murder of Richard Mallory, as they felt the case against her was strongest.
Wuornos’ trial for the murder of Richard Mallory opened before Judge Uriel Blount on 14th January 1992. By virtue of the ‘Williams Rule’ in Florida Law, which enables the prosecution to introduce evidence from other cases if they demonstrate a criminal pattern, jurors were made aware of the other murders in which Wuornos was suspected. Unsurprisingly, they were not convinced by the self-defence motive she claimed, and Wuornos did herself no favours when she testified in her own defence, against the advice of her legal counsel, when she was forced to take the Fifth Amendment (which prevents self-incrimination) repeatedly.
On 27th January 1992 the jury took less than two hours to find her guilty of first-degree murder, and they unanimously recommended the death penalty, in spite of defence claims that she was mentally ill, and a victim of her tragic upbringing. On 31st January 1992 Judge Blount sentenced Aileen Wuornos to death by electrocution.
Two months later, on 31st March 1992, Wuornos pleaded guilty to the murders of Troy Burress, Dick Humphreys and David Spears, and received three further death sentences on 15th May 1992.
In June 1992, Wuornos also pleaded guilty to the murder of Charles Carskaddon, and added another death sentence to her total in November 1992.
In February 1993 she admitted the murder of Walter Antonio and added her sixth, and final, death sentences. She was never tried for the murder of Peter Siems.