Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins claimed to have murdered 110 people. Pic credit: Florence County Sheriff’s OfficeEvil Lives Here looks at serial killer Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins, who is considered South Carolina’s most prolific serial killer. He was convicted of nine murders spanning the 1960s to the 1980s, but in an autobiography published after his death, he claimed to have murdered 110.
Gaskins’s childhood was traumatic in the extreme; he suffered from neglect, beatings, and sexual abuse. His mother occasionally sold him to men for sexual exploitation.
Due to his diminutive size, he was nicknamed Pee Wee, a name that stuck throughout life. He hadn’t known his given name was Donald until a judge read it out to him at a trial when he was 13-years-old.
From the age of 11, he became involved in a gang that conducted robberies, assaults, and sexual attacks. Gaskins was sent to a reform school at 13 for these activities. At the school, he was regularly beaten and raped.
After being released at 18, he was soon sent to adult prison for attacking a woman with a hammer. This time, while incarcerated, he gained a fierce reputation among inmates after slashing the throat of another feared inmate.
In the 1960s, he began abducting, raping, and murdering. These attacks were noted for how he would keep his victims alive for as long as possible while torturing them.
Gaskins traveled the highways picking up hitchhikers, both male, and female, he would subject them to the most horrific abuse before killing them. He mutilated his victims and even resorted to cannibalism on some occasions.
In the 1970s, Gaskins changed his modus operandi when he began killing people he knew, including his own niece, 15-year-old Janice Kirby. He started murdering for money and out of revenge, whereas his previous motive was pleasure. He even began hiring himself out as a hitman.
In the mid-1970s, as the bodies continued to mount up, authorities finally began taking an interest in Gaskins. He had befriended ex-con Walter Neely who had started assisting Gaskins in his crimes, and he even helped him bury bodies.
Neely was picked up by police and eventually cracked under pressure, informing them about all of Gaskins’s activities.
In May 1976, Gaskins was convicted of 8 counts of first-degree murder; this would later increase to 9 when he killed another prisoner in 1982. He was executed by electric chair on September 6, 1991. His last words were, “I’ll let my lawyers talk for me. I’m ready to go.” He was 58 years old.
More from Evil Lives Here
Follow the links to read about more deadly crimes profiled on Evil Lives Here. Dawna Natzke was murdered by her partner Kevin Duck after an argument at a Christmas party in Arkansas in 2011. Duck’s brother testified against his character in court.
In another case, the show looked at the serial rapist and murderer Richard Starrett, who would abduct girls and keep them in his home while his wife was out of town visiting family. Starrett lived a double life that destroyed and blighted many young lives.
Watch Evil Lives Here at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.