Serial Killer Pee Wee Gaskins has claimed to have murdered between 80 to 90 people by tormenting and mutilating them. He began killing in 1969, picking up hitchhikers on the seaside highways of the American South. A criminal affiliate witnessed him murdering two young men and admitted to the police. He was convicted to death which was later turned to life imprisonment without any parole. Gaskins added another killing to his name. He became the only man to have ever murdered an inmate on death row.
“I have walked the same path as God.” – Gaskins
Birth of The Serial Killer
Pee Wee Gaskins was born Donald Henry Gaskins, Jr., to an unwed mother in pastoral South Carolina. He earned the name Pee Wee due to his small stature. He was often physically abused by many of his mother’s boyfriends throughout his young life. When his mother eventually did marry, Pee Wee’s life didn’t improve due to the strict discipline and severe consequences he and his half-siblings were subjected to by his new step-father. The cards were piled against Pee Wee from the moment he was born.
Serial Killer As a Young Boy
When Pee Wee was a young boy, he began to display vicious behavior and never did well in school. Pee Wee spent much of his young life perpetrating minor thefts, breaking in homes, and getting in schoolyard fights. By the time Pee Wee was eleven years old, he dropped out of school. He began working part-time as a mechanic in a local garage. He met two boys here, Danny and Marsh, who were close in age and also dropouts. The three coined themselves “The Trouble Trio” and perpetrated a variety of vicious crimes together. The trio burglarized homes, solicited prostitutes, and raped young boys. They always endangered the young boys so that they would be too scared to tell the police what happened.
Gang Rape of Girl
Marsh had a younger sister whom they all gang-raped. They were caught and were subjected to serious beatings by their parents as punishment. Afterward, Danny and Marsh left town and Pee Wee continued his supremacy of terror on his own. When Pee Wee was 13, in 1946, he was interrupted by a girl he knew while he was breaking into a home. Pee Wee scuffled an ax away from the girl, and slam her twice with it. Once in the head and once in the arm. The girl survived, miraculously. Pee Wee was sent to reform school at the South Carolina Industrial School for Boys. At the age of 18, he was sentenced to jail because of an attack with a deadly weapon and the purpose to kill.
Raped By Boys
While Pee-Wee was in reform school, he was gang-raped and came to be the sex toy of older “Boss-Boys”. They would protect him in exchange for sexual favors. Pee Wee fled many times, once even managing to get a job with a traveling carnival. He wedded a 13-year-old girl. Afterward, he turned himself into the police to complete his verdict.
When he was released in 1951, Pee Wee began working on a tobacco farm until he found insurance fraud. Pee Wee and a friend collaborated with tobacco farmers to steal their crops and cover up the violation by burning their farms for a fee. Ultimately, Pee Wee earned stature as “the barnburner” and was confronted by a friend who was also his boss’ daughter. Again, Pee Wee lost his temper and smash the girl’s skull using the hammer he had in his hand. He was tried and sentenced to attack with a deadly weapon and tried murder and received a five-year prison sentence.
Brutal And Detached
How to describe Pee Wee in five words: Brutal, detached, pedophile, cannibal, psychopath
During his next stint in the can, Pee Wee used his prior knowledge. He earned the title of “Prison Power Man.”
To do this, Pee Wee needed to find the biggest danger, the meanest of the mean, and take him out in cold blood. Pee Wee decided on Hazel Brazell, the hardest, coldest known inhabitant in the prison. He earned Brazell’s trust, and within a week, he slashed Brazell’s throat, earning him six months in distant confinement. After he was returned to the population, Pee Wee was a prison hero, a “Power Man.”
In 1955, Pee Wee’s wife filed for divorce, driving him into a frantic rage. He fled from prison, stole a car. He went to Florida where he joined another carnival and wedded another young girl. Two weeks later, the marriage ended. Pee Wee met Bettie Gates, a lovely, full-figured carnival girl with whom he was immediately infatuated.
Gates convinced Pee Wee that her brother was in prison in Tennessee. He needed them to come to bail him out. Pee Wee agreed to help Gates, driving her to Cookeville, TN. They got a hotel room. Pee Wee stepped to the jail with a carton of cigarettes and bail money in his hand. When he returned to the hotel, both Gates and Pee Wee’s car were long gone. Gates tipped off the administrations and soon, police caught Pee Wee, and he went back to jail. Gates had conned Pee Wee; her “brother” was her husband who fled from prison. He used a razor blade tucked inside the carton of cigarettes Pee Wee delivered to him.
In jail for the third time, at a federal penitentiary in Atlanta, GA, Pee Wee became friends with a mafia boss. Friend Frank Costello, who named him “The Little Hatchet Man.”
Pee Wee was proposed employment by Costello, should he ever need a job.
After Pee Wee was released from prison in August 1961, he returned to Florence, SC, and began working in the tobacco fields again. He proceeded his life of crime, by burglarizing and raping just like always. In 1962, he was caught again for statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl, but escaped authorities and traveled to North Carolina, where he wedded a 17-year-old, who was, in his words, “old for my standards.” Within weeks, Pee Wee’s new bride turned him into police and he was sentenced to statutory rape and sent to the Columbia penitentiary for six years. In November 1968, Pee Wee was paroled and swore he’d never go back to jail again.
It was at this time in Pee Wee’s life that he started recognizing what he called, “them aggravated and bothersome feelings,” which appeared to trigger awful fantasies Pee Wee ultimately started acting on. In September 1969, Pee Wee picked up a female hitchhiker and started flirting with her. When she laughed at him, he whacks her unconscious, raped, sodomized, and tormented her then weighted her body and dumped her into a swamp, still alive. This was his first “Coastal Kill,” as he would later call them.
The “Coastal Kills” were killings of random people. These murders were the most terrifying because Pee-Wee would subject his casualties to crazy methods of torture, sometimes for days. Sometimes, he would cannibalize their detached body parts while they watched and would force them to eat their flesh.
Pee Wee didn’t have a specific type of victim; he would murder men, women, and children indiscriminately. Whenever the “bothersome feelings” would return, Pee Wee would find another unexpected victim and unleash hell upon their final moments.😔
In November 1970, Pee Wee started his “Serious Murders,” which were the murders of close friends and family. His first “Serious Murders” were his 15-year-old niece, Janice Kirby, and her friend, Patricia Alsobrook. Pee Wee offered the girls a ride home and took them to an evacuated house where he raped, beat, and drowned the girls in different locations.
In 1973, Pee Wee purchased an old hearse, and when questioned about it, he reacted, “I murder so many people I need a vehicle to haul all the corpses to my private cemetery.” At this time, Pee Wee lived in Prospect, SC, with his wife and child. He had a stature for being strange, volatile, and mentally disturbed, but not harmful. He had friends who liked him.
In his book, “Final Truth,” co-written with Wilton Earle, Pee Wee recalls his crimes as one would recall any normal memory of their life. Pee Wee boasts how he was able to pass lie detector tests with flying colors even though he was lying the whole time. Pee Wee took great satisfaction in his ability to earn the faith of his victims and got off on controlling their lives up until the moment he finished off them. It was a manner for him to exert his need to dominate and control his conditions, the little abused boy speaking up and defending himself, but Pee Wee wasn’t a little boy anymore, and his victims had done nothing to deserve his anger.
One of the serial killer Pee Wee’s friends, 23-year-old Doreen Dempsey, an unwed mother of a 2-year-old girl, and pregnant, was scheming to leave the region and asked Pee Wee for a ride to the bus station. Rather, Gaskins took her to a wooded region, raped her, and murdered her, but before he murdered Doreen, he started fondling her 2-year-old daughter. Astonished by the sight, Doreen protested, and Pee Wee broke her skull. Then, this perverse disturbed man raped and sodomized the baby girl, later interpreting it as the best sex of his life. (Sicko)
By 1975, the serial killer, by his admission, had murdered and disposed of over 80 people, during his “Coastal Kills.” He focused more on his “Serious Murders,” and in the same year, Gaskins was hired to murder a wealthy farmer from Florence County, Silas Yates. Yates’ ex-girlfriend, Suzanne Kipper, paid Pee Wee $1,500 to kill Yates, and one night, Pee Wee, Diane Neely, John Powel, and John Owens conspired to murder Yates. Neely, Powel, and Owens were all affiliates of Kipper’s, and Neely lured Yates out of his home while Pee Wee abducted and killed him as Owen and Powel watched, then all three buried Yates’ body.
Soon thereafter, Neely and her boyfriend, ex-con Avery Howard, tried blackmailing Pee Wee for $5,000 in hush money. Pee Wee fooled them into believing he would give them the money, then murdered both of them and disposed of their bodies. Pee Wee continued murdering and tormenting other people he knew, including 13-year-old Kim Ghelkins, who, like so many others before her, resisted his sexual advances.
The Creative Serial Killer
Pee Wee started confiding in Walter Neely, and he soon became Pee Wee’s believed friend after helping him murder and dispose of two heathens who tried to steal Pee Wee’s shop equipment. Pee Wee showed Walter where he disposed of the bodies of all the other people he had murdered, nearly 181 according to Pee Wee, which, if it’s true, makes him the most creative serial killer in American history.
Neely ultimately broke down and told the police what he knew. The serial killer was caught and charged with nine counts of killing after police found the corpses of several of Pee Wee’s friends. Pee Wee was convicted to death. He later admitted to seven additional murders to avoid additional death sentences. His sentence was commuted to life with seven consecutive life terms in November 1976, after the US Supreme Court sanctioned the death penalty unconstitutional. In jail, Pee Wee thrived off of the royal treatment he earned due to his notoriety. While in jail, Pee Wee was hired by Tony Cimo, son of Bill and Myrtle Moon (both victims of death row inmate, Rudolph Tyner) to murder his parent’s murderer, since they were both in jail together. Pee Wee had certain privileges in jail which allowed him rights other inhabitants didn’t have. Pee Wee was able to form a connection with Tyner, posing as a drug dealer and lacing them with rat poison in attempts to murder him.
After none of these attempts worked, Pee Wee fashioned a home-made bomb with C4, using a military-style boot with a hole cut in the heel to smuggle it around in the jail. Pee Wee rigged a device related to a portable radio in Tyner’s death row cell and told Tyner this would allow them to communicate between cells. When Tyner followed Pee Wee’s teachings to hold a speaker to his ear at an agreed time, Pee Wee detonated the explosives in his cell and murdered him. “The last thing he listened was me laughing,” Pee Wee later boasted. Pee Wee earned the death penalty again after the killing of Rudolph Tyner.
On Death Row
While he was on death row, serial killer Pee Wee told his life story to a journalist by the name of Wilton Earle and admitted to over 181 killings, including Margaret “Peg” Cuttino, the 12-year-old daughter of then SC senator James Cuttino, Jr. Someone else had been convicted and was in prison for this crime, and police rejected most of Pee Wee’s claims because they found them impossible to ascertain. Pee Wee said he had a “special mind” that gave him “permission to kill.”
Pee Wee Gaskins was executed on September 6, 1991, at 1:10 AM. He was the fourth person to perish in the electric chair after the death penalty was reinstated in South Carolina. His last words were,
“I’ll let my lawyers talk for me. I’m ready to go.”
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