Thursday, September 12, 2002


Female Serial Killer to be Executed

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Gov. Jeb Bush signed a death warrant Thursday for Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute who killed six men along Florida highways and was one of the nation's first known female serial killers. Her execution was set for Oct. 9.

The governor also ordered the Oct. 2 execution of death row inmate Rigoberto Sanchez Velasco, who was condemned for the 1986 murder of a Hialeah girl.

With Bush seeking re-election in November, some death penalty critics accused the governor of making capital punishment a political issue.

Abe Bonowitz, director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, called the death warrants "a transparent and crass political move at a time when Mr. Bush knows that the courts will issue stays in both cases." He referred to legal challenges to Florida's death penalty that are pending before the state's Supreme Court.

But stays for Wuornos or Sanchez appear unlikely: Neither has attorneys since both dropped their appeals. Bush spokeswoman Katie Muniz said both confessed more than 10 years ago and have volunteered for execution.

Wuornos, 46, was convicted of fatally shooting six middle-aged men who picked her up as a hitchhiker in 1989 and 1990. Her story has been portrayed in two movies, three books and an opera.