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The first several chapters of the Mallicoat text cover various criminological theories that have been presented as possible explanations for female criminal behavior. For the purpose of this assignment, I want you to put on your criminologist hat and select a theory to explain a female offender’s criminal behavior.  You can use any of the theories used in the course text, but don’t feel limited to do so – if you have another criminological theory you feel would better explain the behavior, please do so.

We know that sometimes, women and girls who have been victimized retaliate against their abuser. In some cases, these females are charged with criminal offenses. While there has technically been a violation of the law, there are mitigating factors that we would like the courts to take into consideration.

For this assignment, I want you to further investigate the Aileen Wournos case. A case where the perpetrator is a a woman and could be considered  both the victim and the offender. This is a case where the female offenders criminal activity is somehow linked to her victimization (e.g., a domestic violence victim who kills her partner, a child molestation victim who kills her molester).

Our subject: Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuornos of Florida born February 29, 1956 was molested and victim to an abusive father who later died in prison. Wuornos was pregnant at fourteen leading her to then drop out of school and leave home to live a life on the road as a hitchhiker. After a short period hitchhiking, she began soliciting prostitution, not soon after the string of killings began. Ms. Wuornos would be picked up at various locations along the highway, where she would then shoot her male counterpart(s) before robbing them and stealing their cars. In total Ms. Wuornos killed seven middle aged men from December 1989 to November 1990, before finally being brought in on an outstanding warrant charge. Ms. Wuornos claimed all the killings were in self-defense believing that the men each time was attempting to rape her, however once her prints turned up on some of the victims belongings she was found guilty. She was executed in Florida via lethal injection on October 9, 2002.

Conduct your own research and then answer the following questions:

Briefly summarize the the facts of the victimization and how it led to the offense.
What was the sentence imposed? Do you feel the sentence imposed was appropriate? Too harsh? Too lenient? If you feel the sentence was too harsh, you need to provide mitigating circumstances ~ reasons why the court should have considered a lesser punishment. If you feel the sentence was too lenient, you need to provide aggravating circumstances ~ reasons why the court should have considered a more severe punishment. If you feel the sentence imposed was appropriate, provide reasons why you support the decision.
Select a criminological theory to explain why Wournos behavior could be considered self dense or why it shouldn’t be considered self-defense.


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