Case Studies
Donald Henry Gaskins: An Infamous “Pee Wee” Serial Killer of South Carolina

Donald Henry Gaskins: An Infamous “Pee Wee” Serial Killer of South Carolina

Donald Henry Gaskins also known as Pee Wee Gaskins or Junior Parrott was an American mass murderer and rapist who claimed to have committed about 110 murders. He was sentenced to several punishments for various crimes committed in his lifetime.

His mass murders terrorized people from 1953 to 1982, out of which he named few as “coastal kills” and “serious killings”. Though he was so well in leaving no trace after the crime commission, he was convicted for his last murder of 13-year-old Kim Ghelkins.

He was arrested under suspicion which was aroused by people when Kim was missing and people found her clothes in Gaskin’s apartments. Even after his confession of 110 murders, police were able to charge for only fifteen murders due to the lack of evidence.

Initially, Donald was sentenced to life imprisonment but due to the murder of a fellow inmate, he was awarded a death sentence. In 1991, he was executed by chair electrocution.

Early Life and Arrests of Pee Wee Gaskins

Gaskins experienced a rough childhood due to his careless mother and abusive stepfather. His parents were so careless that he was shocked to know his first name for the first time in a trial.

He stayed depressed due to the bullying experienced by him by his fellow classmates. Due to his short stature, students used to call him ‘pee-wee’.

He quit school when he was 11 years old and joined a garage where he befriended two same-aged Danny and Marsh. They all started doing burglaries, troubling younger kids, and called themselves ‘troubling trio’.

They were separated after being caught gang-raping Marsh’s sister by her parents and they beat them to death. After the incident, Gaskins started breaking into houses alone because of which he was once caught by a girl robbing her house.

Stabbed by an axe, the girl survived and filed a complaint against Gaskins which made him go to the reform school. He escaped from the school due to bullying about stature and being raped by fellow inmates and married a girl. 

He returned to the reform school to complete his sentence successfully, after which the girl who married Gaskins divorced knowing his criminal history. 

By 18 he was released after which he worked in a tobacco farm where he along with fellow farmers started barn fires.

Crimes Committed by Henry Donald Gaskin

Due to the barn fire issue, he was caught red-handed by an employer’s daughter which resulted in the splitting of her skull by Gaskin’s hammer. For this crime, he was punished for 5 years imprisonment.

In prison to get power and make others feel frightened, he killed a powerful inmate which increased his imprisonment by 3 years. 

He escaped from the jail by climbing onto a garbage truck but was unfortunately re-captured on August 1961 and was put on parole. Even after release, he continued doing crimes, this time he raped a 12-year-old girl for which he was paroled by the court in September and was given 8 years imprisonment.

Then he worked for a roofing company doing his small crimes simultaneously. From the company, he joined a travel agency by which he was appointed as a minister’s driver.

Becoming a driver helped him commit his crimes without being apprehended. He used to commit crimes like burglary, rape, etc. and get away to other cities as a driver of the minister.

From 1969, his non-caught killings started and his first victim was a hitchhiker after torturing and drawing her in a swamp near his house. Crimes followed by the first were very brutal where he tortured, mutilated, and even cannibalized his victims. He used to eat the parts in front of them or forced them to eat.

He named these crimes to be ‘coastal kills’ after which he started serious killings from Eddie and Bertie Brown; a couple that blackmailed Gaskins for $5000 or unveiling of his murders. Their murder was followed by the death of a 46-year-old Horace Jones.

He was considered to be a racist murderer as he killed his friend’s wife who separated his friend and became pregnant by an African-American man. Most of his victims were buried under a cemetery near his house that he showed to his friend Walter Neely believing he would not surrender.

By 1974, he killed Johnny Sellers and Jessie Ruth Judy followed by Silas Yates, Dianne Neely, and Avery Howard in 1975. Everything was going smoothly until the murder of his last victim Kim Ghelkins, a 13-year-old girl from his neighborhood.

He along with three other people raped that 13-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her. Neighbors got suspicious of him and searched his apartment where they found Kim’s clothes which she wore lastly.

Along with this suspicion, he was taken to the police department where another shock was waiting for Gaskins i.e. Walter Neely has already been arrested and has confessed about the cemetery.

Henry DOnald Execution

Police found around eight bodies of Gaskin’s victims and Gaskin was presented in front of the court and jury members which found him guilty and sentenced him with death penalty.

His death sentence was revoked by the supreme court and was sentenced to life imprisonment. While passing his imprisonment he was paid $2000 by Tony Cimo, an affected civilian who wanted Gaskin to kill his fellow inmate.

The inmate’s name was Rudolf Tyner, who killed Tony Cimo’s parents while robbing their shop. Gaskin tried killing Tyner by food lacing, poisoning, etc. but failed in all his attempts.

Finally, he ordered a plastic explosive and a plasticizer cap using which he made a portable radio and fit that in Tyner’s cell.

While the source for the radio was put on, the bomb exploded killing Rudolf Tyner which led him to the death sentence which was earlier revoked.

In 1991, a few hours prior to his execution, he tried to kill himself by lacerating his wrist but due to the availability and early treatment, he got his wrist stitched.

By around 2:00 am, Donald Henry Gaskins was electrocuted on a chair and his last words were noted which stated that he wanted to talk to his lawyer. He also confessed to the 110 murders committed by him over his lifetime.


It is history’s one of the craziest mass-murdering cases which shook and goosebumped almost every individual who came to know about it.

Because of a rough childhood, Gaskin became a living monster and made his victim’s life a living hell. He became so sexually addicted that he tried to rape his own niece and her friend. Even life imprisonment didn’t scare him, murdering Rudolf Tyner finally led him to his execution.

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