6 September 1991 – Donald Henry ‘Pee Wee’ Gaskins

Pee Wee

Pee Wee

Most people take being a short arse in their stride and go on to make a tremendous success of their lives. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Tom Cruise (sometimes) are noteworthy cases in point.

But there are others who choose to be blighted by their bodily inadequacies and opt to make up for any vertical challenges with escalating anger instead.

Donald Henry Gaskin fell into the latter camp and had the life fried out of him as a result of his murderous deeds. Nicknamed ‘Pee Wee’ for his lack of stature, he has notoriously been dubbed America’s ‘meanest serial killer’ according to several sources, although his inflated ego may well have massaged the number of victims.

Nevertheless, he still stacked up an unhealthily large collection of corpses during his rampage across South Carolina, employing his own brand of cruel brutality.

Gaskin was a bit of an animal really. Even from a young age he was showing dysfunctional signs of serious depravity.

Pee hee

Bored or maybe disillusioned with school – he was the butt of all the jokes, after all – he quit at the tender age of 11 and went on to work in local garages.

There he fell into the path of two delinquents by the names of Marsh and Danny, and the three became the inseparable scourge of the neighbourhood, taking to burglary and other petty crimes to fill their days and pockets.

Sister act

However, one key turning point was when they gang-raped a little girl – Marsh’s own sister being the sacrifice. Needless the parents went ape and beat the boys raw – it wasn’t long after that Marsh and Danny left home, so the trio was disbanded.

That certainly didn’t stop old Pee-Wee. He was in and out of reform school for his activities. And it was during these stints when he was banged up that the real seeds of criminality were sewn, not least because he would often become the dorm’s whipping boy. He’d end up turning tricks to earn protection from the head honchos, which saved him from being beaten to a pulp by bully-boy inmates.

Animosity bubbled within him and he was to admit to having ‘aggravated and bothersome feelings’ – and it was those same feelings that apparently were to propel him towards a life rife with murderous crimes.

Crack pot

Following reform school, Gaskin was to be let out where he was miraculously able to get a job. But it wasn’t long before dodgy dealings led to a fire and his boss confronted him about it.

Well, ok, so he was guilty as sin, but that didn’t stop Pee-Wee from losing the plot completely. In a vengeful rage he targeted the boss’s daughter, hitting her head so hard with a hammer that he cracked her skull open with the sheer force of his violence. She survived, but he was marched off to be imprisoned again.

Bogged down

And this time he was old enough to play with the big boys, and boy did they play with him. Banged up for five years on an attempted murder charge, he soon became sick of pandering to the big men with their slimy, sexual demands, so he wangled himself an opportunity to seize the balance of power.

Gaskin did this by wheedling his way into the affections of the meanest bad boy on the block. Then, only when the bloke was putty in his palm did he pounce. He slit the trusting man’s throat apparently, as he was unceremoniously taking a dump.

Of course, Gaskin’s actions earned him a stint in solitary, but this was a small price to pay, because his ploy had worked. Branded a nutter, he became a force to be reckoned with, and the other crims stayed well away.

Making whoo-Pee

Bear in mind Pee Wee was still only a teenager at this point and between spells in prison he’d managed to bag himself a jail-bait bride, who’d been aged 13. Yep, 13. Well she had grown older and wiser while he’d been banged up, so naturally she’d filed for divorce.

The news didn’t go down too well and Gaskin did his nut, vowing to stage a jail-break. It was successful and he wound up on the outside. He was able to make his way down to Florida where he bagged himself another wife, well for two weeks at least.

Pee Wee later hooked up with more dodgy characters who gave him a dose of his own medicine, stitching him up, then fleecing him of his stolen car. Eventually the police caught up with him and he found himself in jail again, that is until his release in 1961.

It was the ‘60s and free love was abundant, perfect for a man hell-bent on spreading his evil seed. Gaskin wasted no time in getting his end away by every means possible.

Minor strike

It was only a matter of time before Gaskin was done for raping a minor, aged just 12. He’d taken another wife aged just 17, but she eventually came to her senses and shopped him and he was promptly dumped back in prison.

Eight years later, the rampant reprobate was released and he was determined to resume where he’d left off. But the sadistic switch was flicked when a hitchhiker laughed off his lascivious advances. For that he beat her senseless, raped and tortured her, then drowned her by weighting her body down in a swampy area.

Revolting revelation

Well it was almost like the debauched demon had a brutal epiphany, according to a variety of sources from ‘Wikipedia’ to extracts from the ‘Final Truth’ – a biography based on Gaskin’s own words, compiled by Wilton Earle. Finally satiated by his killer activities, Gaskin had allegedly found that the murder provided the self-gratification he felt he’d been missing out on all his depraved life.

According to several sources, including Trutv.com, Mr Evil Incarnate would go on to perfect the dubious art of torturing his victims, cutting off body parts, sometimes even feasting on them right there in front of his terrorised victims. Some even go as far as to surmise that he force-fed his victims their own flesh.

This all formed part of a six-year solo spate of savage killings, which, according to Trutv.com, included a 23-year-old pregnant woman and her two-year-old.

Indeed even after he’d killed the pair, Pee Wee wouldn’t let the baby rest, branding her as the ‘best sex of his life’.

Partners in grime

Maybe he would have carried on his murderous mayhem had he not hooked up with a partner in crime.

Walter Neely was to get in on the act in 1975. By this time, Gaskin, who’d found time to become a grandfather, was busy branching out as a hired gun too. He roped his new mate and his sister into the scam, but this was to prove the beginning of the end.

Neely’s sister Diane started blackmailing the long-time murderer. What possessed her? Here was a man practised in the evil ways of murder. Did she really think she’d come off unscathed? She and her boyfriend soon joined the ranks of the rotting corpses festering in South Carolina.

Bodies of evidence

Her brother, on the other hand, was unaware of this latest development, nevertheless Neely was showing signs of breaking of his own accord anyway. The death toll was horrendous and the burden of guilt may have proven too much. So when a murdered girl by the name of Kim Gehlken led the police straight to Pee Wee, Neely buckled.

A bit of digging around revealed a whole raft of bodies literally crawling out of the woodwork. Eight counts of murder were levelled at Gaskin and Neely and the two were done for murder.

Naturally a death penalty came in tow, but unbelievably, it was commuted to life in 1976 after the penalty was deemed unlawful. Of course there was no fear of parole because he got seven consecutive life sentences instead.

However, in 1978 when the sentence was resurrected, he had the last laugh, because there was no way they could backtrack and reinstate his execution…that is until another crime emerged – the murder of a fellow prisoner, Rudolph Tyner. He was found guilty and along with the damning indictment came the order to execute.

Imagine, you’re on death row for murder – so what do you do to pass the time? Admit to more murders of course.

Among others he admitted to one infamous case involving a 13-year-old girl by the name of Peggy Cuttino. But someone had already taken the rap for her murder – William ‘Junior Pierce got a life sentence. 1

Unsurprisingly, none of these ploys to delay worked so, on the brink of being plonked on Old Sparky, and in a bid to cheat death, Pee Wee bizarrely decided to slit his wrists. But that failed and he wound up on South Carolina’s electric chair anyway, with his wrists bandaged up on this day in 1991, aged 58.

He’d been found guilty of nine murders, but Gaskin himself put the toll somewhere around the 100 mark. But the reality of that figure went with him to the grave.

1 Seamus McGraw from Crimelibrary.com has shed uncertainty on whether Pierce was actually guilty of Cuttino’s death based on ‘mysteriously’ disappearing evidence and DNA conflicts.

Also on this day

6 September 1996 – Douglas Wright

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34 Responses to “6 September 1991 – Donald Henry ‘Pee Wee’ Gaskins”

  1. Has anyone tried to undersand ths guy and what he did? Is there any logical excuse to why he was so criminalistic? I have read the book and heard the tape. But I stll ask – was there any logical reason for his actions?

    • Brittany Webster Says:

      more or less, he was just evil. He couldn’t have blamed it on his childhood, because there’s people out there that have awful childhoods, and they aren’t out murdering people.

  2. There was no reason for what he did Im from sumter south carolina and everyone here knows his story, what he did, where he lived here in sumter, etc. I read his book and in the first chapter he talks about one of his step dads taking him to the local carnival that is held on highway 378 everyyear. He said that the only part of that trip he remembers was watching a king cobra kill and eat a rat. He said that when he looked at the snake he noticed that they had the same eyes. He was evil from the beginning. He got enjoyment out of making people that said no to him suffer. There is no logical reason for anything he did. He was simply mentally Insane.

  3. Connor Says:

    My mother knew him.
    In fact, she lived really close to him.
    Her ex husbands father used to know him well.
    They would go fishing.
    But he never got hurt.
    I think pewee knew better.
    Where pewee lived, “prospect, SC” is where my older sister lives now.
    My mom said he was always a mean man.
    When he was a kid he would hang animals in trees and slash and beat them.
    Pewee deserved to be killed.
    For what he did i feel he was killed to humainly.
    I would have tortured him personally.


    Pee Wee Gaskins was the first Convict ever to be executed in the new South Carolina Death Chamber @ Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia, S.C. in September 1991. Unfortunantly, he has left a legacy that many other Inmates have tried to duplicate but none of them have been as successful. I retired from the S.C. Dept. of Corrections in 2006. While Gaskins may have been big News to the Public and News Media, he was nothing more than a loose Convict – Inmate to us. He was not an actual Convict or an Inmate. He fell in between the two. Although at times he did act like an Inmate…..Gaskins was a loose Convict because he knew the System but never settled down and accepted his imprisonment like True Convicts do. Pee Wee was always into other people’s business and a True Convict will never be there. He stays by himself and doesn’t even talk to anyone. You almost never even see a Convict going to the Dinng Hall. They are really that independant. An Inmate on the other hand is like Pee Wee, always into the business of others. STRONG ADVICE: Never mess with a Convict. They’ll have your neck cut and hand you your own throat before you know what happened. This World is much better off without Donald Henry “Pee Wee” Gaskins.

  5. Sabrina Says:

    I too am from that area. Johnsonville to be exact. My dad has told me stories about Pee Wee. If you are from that area then you will know where a place called The Neck is and you will know about the bar. In that bar on night in the 70’s Pee Wee and my dad crossed paths. They ended up in a brawl and Pee Wee broke a beer bottle over my fathers head.

    After finding out a lot about Pee Wee and reading his book, I am just grateful that a beer bottle “attack” is all my dad got!

  6. renee Says:

    yeah im also from johnsonville….and my uncle travis was married to his cousin cathy…i remember going to the gravesites after they had been found and till this day it is still spooky…im glad they killed him…all the evil in south carolina is dead now …so there should be peace

    • Ardie Says:

      I have cousins that lived in johnsonville and we went to the grave site right after they had been found too.

  7. walter Gehlken Says:

    what i can never figure out is my sister is always mentioned and they never spell her name correct it is Kim Gehlken. If you use it at least spell it right . All we have is her memory because of him .

    • Old Sparky Says:

      Apologies, post updated accordingly.

    • OOOh How my heart goes out to you and your family! I just got done reading the book final truth and I have never read anything so horriffic as what Peewee did to his victims. Your precious Kim is in a beautiful place surrouded by heavenly beings waiting for you all to be together again! I am truely so sorry I cant even imagine how terrible this whole thing has effected you and your family. There wouldnt be punishment enough for Peewee and what he has done. He is pure Evil no soul and im not sure how people can ever feel safe knowing there are these ctypes in our world. peace love and light Mari

  8. Jackie Says:

    Everyone keeps calling him PeeWee Gaskin. He grew up with that name but he was not a Gaskin, but a Parrott. Birth name: Donald Henry Parrott, Jr.
    My family are Gaskins and I resent him being called that even though that is what he went by. He was only given that name because a prominant Gaskin lived in town and his mother tried to Black mail him for money.

  9. MaryAnn Dunham Says:

    I was Kim’s fifth grade teacher at Chicora Elementary who talked the police into taking a missing person’s report, even though I wasn’t a family member. It was early September. A few weeks later detectives Stoney and Green came to see me. The search for her eventually led to the discovery of bodies in Prospect, SC. It was a year later before her remains were found. She was in my class only a few days, but she seemed really sweet and quiet. What a tragedy. The night PeeWee was executed I sat up late, until I knew the deed was done and the world was rid of Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins, as he was known.

    • Robin R. Flores Says:

      I was a North Charleston police officer from 1985-1988. I remember this case file, and lived in the same neighborhood (Ferndale) as Gaskins in the 1970s when I was in the Navy.

      By 1991 I was a cop on Moncks Corner…and took great interest in Gaskins’ execution. At least it was the chair…injection would have been too good

    • Robin R. Flores Says:

      Ms. Dunham: veteran NCPD officers (Capt. Charlie Lloyd and Sgt. Mark Lysaught) told me that the Gehlkens case wore on Det. Green. It bothered him so badly that it lead to his retirement.

  10. killed 300 people

  11. zane fenton Says:

    ive studied peewee through the years, does anyone know where he is buried, i would like to talk with his daughter linda

    • b. hartley Says:

      I just watched this program today and his daughter’s name was Shirley Gaskins.But maybe he had another daughter named Linda.

    • Charles E. Rogers Says:

      Zane, Pee Wee was cremated and his ashes were given to his daughter Linda by the Officials @ the S.C. Dept. of Corrections. No one knows what she did with her Father’s ashes after she received them.

      • Robin R. Flores Says:

        There is a picture in Final Truth of a woman dumping his ashes in a wooded area in Florence Co.

  12. kim sellers Says:

    pee wee did make an ass out of a lot of cops, they still wont admit they got the wrong man in the peggy cuttino murder in sumter sc, im sure pee wee did the murder. peggy was a sweet inocent little girl and deserves justice, but the cops wont admit there wrong.

  13. Lloyd Says:

    It would appear that PeeWee Gaskins was a very unusual arragement of the elements of life, as was Christ the man they call Jesus


  14. Brittany Webster Says:

    I’m currently writing my essay over him, in my college english class, and may I say, he is one sick man. I don’t see how he had the nerve to do all of this. I will pray for every single poor soul he killed.

  15. shelbysnell Says:

    im sorry to say but mr donald peewee gaskins is my uncle, and honestly i miss him.

    • Stephanie Marie Wells Says:

      well i feel sorry for u missing someone like him he is a murder and he killed my father im glad he’s dead

    • Really!! Well, Aren’t you lucky the monster didn’t kill you as he did his other niece? Miss Him!! Did you know this Janice? Do you miss her?
      I read that he killed one of his niece “Janice Kirby, aged 15, and her friend Patricia Ann Alsbrook, aged 17, whom he beat to death after attempting to sexually assault them in Sumter, South Carolina.”
      Source – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Henry_Gaskins

    • b. hartley Says:

      And maybe he “MISSED” you,be glad he’s gone and you are still alive.

  16. Kelly Says:

    He killed my moms sister at the age Of 13 she’s in the book and I couldn’t even read the hole thing it made me sick her names Kim gelhkin !

  17. Ron Gehlken Jr Says:

    At least one article about this horrible man has corrected the spelling in my Aunt’s last name. As my Uncle said all we have left in our family is memories of my Aunt Kim, and because of him I will only have stories of her short life because I will never be able to meet her because this monster took her from us ! Thank you Uncle Rick and thank you to whoever corrected the spelling of her last name!

  18. Very interesting and well written article. May I humbly suggest that Pee Wee’s viciousness and violent record were heavily influenced by two factors. He was repeatedly beaten by various stepfathers. I hate to make this analogy because humans aren’t animals, but when a dog gets beaten as it is being raised– and I’m not talking about a swat in the snout, I mean kicked and smacked — it usually ends up being a nasty, mean animal. The second factor, at least the way I see it, is that Pee Wee suffered from Napoleon complex. He felt inferior because of his height. People who suffer from this complex are power hungry — among other things. Pee Wee exhibited power over and control of his victims by murdering him. Wish I could have been a witness to his execution.

  19. Ok…YOU receive the kind of neglect he had as a child (the worst kind of abuse by the way)…then get gang raped…repeatedly…along with spending your formative years surviving in a brutal, savage institution…and then let’s see how well YOU deal with your anger!!

    You make not one comment about ANY of these vital circumstances…within your glib, offhand and hideously judgmental ‘article’…or whatever it is…how incredibly predictable!!

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