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Crime News Serial Killers

'Catching Killers' On Netflix Shows How Police Used Aileen Wuornos' Love For Her Ex To Manipulate Her

Marion County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Binegar noted in “Catching Killers’ that Tyria Moore was “probably the most stable relationship she ever had in her entire life.” 

By Gina Tron
Aileen Wuornos

Netflix’s new docuseries “Catching Killers” shows how police exploited the relationship Aileen Wuornos had with her former girlfriend in order to coerce the notorious serial killer to confess.

Wuornos, America's most infamous female serial killer, was ultimately linked to seven murders between 1989 and 1990 along Florida's Interstate 75. In 1992, she shouted that she was raped as she was found guilty of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to death the same year and executed by lethal injection in 2002. She maintained that claimed that as a sex worker she only killed in self-defense, and that her first victim violently raped her. 

“Catching Killers’ shows that she confessed to the killings only after law enforcement pushed her girlfriend Tyria Moore to turn against her.

Tyria Moore and Wuornos dated for about five years but broke up two weeks before undercover police officer Lt. Mike Joyner tracked down Wuornos, then a person of interest in the slayings, to a beach in Daytona.

Joyner says in the show that Wuornos zeroed in on him that night, grooming him to be her next victim. Recorded audio from the interaction consists mostly of a distraught Wuornos, who is sobbing over her recent breakup with Moore.

“I am so f--ked up and so hurt,” she confided in the undercover cop.

That very same day, police arrested Wuornos on an outstanding warrant but they didn’t have anything on her for the murders. It was then that Joyner and other investigators decided to zero in on her weak spot: Moore.

Marion County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Binegar noted in “Catching Killers’ that Moore was “probably the most stable relationship she ever had in her entire life.” 

Investigators interviewed Moore, who confessed that her ex had come home one day and admitted to killing Richard Mallory, one of the victims. She then became a witness and helped officials get a confession out of Wuornos.

Moore cried on the phone as she told Wuornos that she was scared that she could get in trouble with the police.

“You’re gonna let me get in trouble for something I didn't do,” she said while crying.

Wuornos consoled her, told her she loved her, and said, “If I have to confess everything just to keep you from getting in trouble, I will.”

Moore then pushed for her to do so, immediately. Wuornos told her she loved her. Moore didn't appear to say it back.

Binegar noted in the show that the serial killer “really cared about Tyria."

“She really did.”

The episode about Wuornos, entitled “Manhunter” has received some criticism for its portrayal of Wuornos, who died in 2002 by lethal injection. Elle reported that some feel the episode lacked empathy for her and instead favored the voices of the male police officers. 

“Not Netflix and Catching Killers painting a cop-men-perfect picture while making Aileen Wuornos be the monster whose side of the story is not even shown,” one viewer tweeted. “And of course, the system hasn't got a flaw there.”

A movie based on Wuornos' earlier years, “American Boogeywoman," came out earlier this year staring Peyton List as Wuornos. A year after Wuornos’ execution, the movie “Monster” was released. It was written and directed by Patty Jenkins and starred Charlize Theron who won a 'Best Actress' at the Academy Awards for her nuanced portrayal of the serial killer. That film explored her case with empathy, but focused on Wuornos at the time she was actively killing men.