When sex worker Aileen Wuornos confessed to killing seven men in 1991, most of the people in her life, aside from attorneys and defense psychologists, abandoned her. Even her girlfriend Tyria Moore (once referred to as the “first real love of her life”) testified against Wuornos during her trial for the murder of her first victim, 52-year-old Richard Mallory.
Wuornos’ childhood best friend, Dawn Botkins, however, became even closer with the 34-year-old convicted serial killer while she was incarcerated.
“I was just her friend and just looked her up when I heard she was in prison,” Botkins told producers of Oxygen’s documentary special “Snapped Notorious: Aileen Wuornos.”
Botkins grew up with Wuornos in Troy, Michigan, and the two reconnected after years of separation when Wuornos was charged with murder. Although Botkins knew Wuornos was guilty, she told Oxygen that she wanted to be there for her friend, regardless of the crimes she committed.
“I am the only one that really knows the truth, but she didn’t have to come clean with me. I didn’t even like talking about it. I did not judge her for it. I was there to be her friend,” said Botkins. “If I was to look at my friend and judge her for killing these people, I wouldn’t have been able to have anything to do with her anymore. So, I better put judgment right the hell out of the bag and just go straight to the friendship thing, forget about anything bad she’d done because I can’t be friends with her then. And I didn’t want to do that.”
Botkins and Wuornos exchanged hundreds of letters while she sat on death row, and in 2002, more than a decade after her arrest, Wuornos was executed by lethal injection.
To learn more about the murders and Wuornos’ relationship with Botkins, watch “Snapped Notorious: Aileen Wuornos” on March 25 at 6/5c.