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Killer Company (Part Two)

Donald Henry "Pee Wee" Gaskins

By Phoenixx Fyre DeanPublished 5 years ago 10 min read
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Donald Henry "Pee Wee" Gaskins earned the moniker of "The Meanest Man In America" after 100-110 murders.

Eulea Parot lived in Florence County, South Carolina when she gave birth to the youngest in a string of five illegitimate children. Donald Henry "Pee Wee" Gaskins entered the world March 31, 1933, to a mother that barely noticed his birth. At the tender age of just one year, while left unattended, Gaskins drank a bottle of kerosene. This caused severe seizures until he was three years old. His mother brought men in and out of her house, paying little attention to the treatment her children received by the men. Donald, because of his small stature and big attitude, was often the target of the beatings around the house. Gaskins attended school until he tired of the daily beatings by his peers and the castigation of his teachers at the age of 11, when he dropped out in favor of working a full day at a local auto repair garage.

While working at the garage, Gaskins met two boys around the same age as he, Danny and Marsh, and began his first real crime spree. "The Trouble Trio" engaged in burglarizing homes, picking up prostitutes, raping and then threatening to murder little boys, and finally gang raping the little sister of Marsh. The boys were interrupted in the middle of the rape and the parents of the boys responded immediately and violently by tying the boys up and beating them until they bled. All of the parents agreed that the boys should no longer be friends, and shortly after Danny and Marsh moved from the area.

In 1946, at the age of 13, he entered the home of a girl he knew with the intention of robbing the home's occupants of their valuables. He didn't expect to find her at home, much less with an ax. She swung and hit him. He took it from her with a struggle and then hit her twice with it. Once in the arm, and then a blow to the head. Gaskins made a hasty retreat, but she could identify him and that would cost him his first arrest. As Gaskins stood in court to hear his charges read aloud, he became very confused to hear the name Donald Henry Gaskins. It was the first time in his life that he learned his given name was Donald. Gaskins was sentenced to the South Carolina Industrial School for Boys until his 18th birthday.

Pee Wee Gaskins found work on a tobacco plantation immediately upon his release from the South Carolina Industrial School for Boys. He also found a 13 year old wife. Working in the fields apparently wasn't profitable enough for him and he was soon involved in an insurance scam that involved him burning down the barns of local farmers for a fee. 1953, when his employer's daughter became suspicious that it was Gaskins setting the fires, she questioned him about it. He panicked in that moment and smashed the hammer he was holding into the head of the farmer's daughter, splitting her skull. Gaskins was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder, was quickly found guilty, and was sentenced to five years in prison. It was there that Gaskins murdered his first victim.

Hazel Brazell was the "Power Man" of the Central Correctional Institution and Pee Wee Gaskins was tired of being picked on. With no fear, Pee Wee sliced the throat of Brazell and took his newly earned position of "Power Man."Gaskins was sentenced to nine years, the first six months served in solitary confinement. Six of those years were to be served concurrently with the sentence Gaskins was already serving, giving him a total of three years for the manslaughter of a fellow inmate.

In 1955, during his incarceration, his wife filed for divorce and served the papers to him in prison. Gaskins immediately broke out of prison, hiding inside a garbage truck that was going to Florida. Gaskins joined a traveling carnival and ended up back in South Carolina, where he married for the second time. It was a marriage that would last only two weeks.

Soon after, Pee Wee hooked up with Betty Gates, and the two drove to Tennessee to bond her brother out of jail. Upon returning to the hotel they had rented close by, it was discovered that the "brother" was really her husband and his "bond" had been paid by way of a well hidden razor blade. It didn't take authorities long to track the escapee to the hotel room, where they also found Gaskins was an escapee and returned him to the Central Correctional Institution, where he served out his time, plus an additional nine months for assisting in the escape of another inmate.

Released from prison once again, Gaskins began working as a driver for a local pastor. This allowed Gaskins to expand his crime spree, as each new city was left with a few burglarized homes, and police and locals unaware that they had been visited by Pee Wee Gaskins.

1962 was a new year, but Donald Henry "Pee Wee" Gaskins was the same man. Gaskins found himself behind bars once agai, this time for the statutory rape of a 12 year old girl. Gaskins made bond and while he awaited sentencing for the charge, he stole a car and fled, this time to North Carolina. New year, new state and then came the new wife, this time a 17 year old. His third marriage ended when his bride tired of his antics and turned him into local police and had him arrested for statutory rape. That conviction earned Gaskins another six years behind bars in Columbia Penitentiary in South Carolina.

Gaskins leaves yet another court appearance.

"I have walked the same path as God, by taking lives, and making others afraid, I became God's equal. Through killing others, I became my own master. Through my own power, I come to my own redemption..." - Pee Wee Gaskins

In November of 1968, the penitentiary doors swung open and Pee Wee Gaskins walked out, once again, a free man. Over the years, Pee Wee developed what he described as "those aggravated and bothersome feelings," and he found a way to satiate those feelings when he picked up a hitchhiker. She brutally rejected Gaskins when she discovered his nickname covered all of his body parts and laughed when he exposed his penis to her. His rage turned to a brutal attack that left the woman unconscious but still alive for the moment. Gaskins took advantage of her state and tortured her, raped, and sodomized her, and then weighted her body and watched her drown in the swamp.

From that moment forward, Gaskins would spend nights dividing his time between his "coastal kills" and his "serious kills." The "coastal kills," as Gaskins labeled them, were random people that through happenstance had the misfortune of meeting Pee Wee Gaskins. The "serious kills" were people he personally knew.

His first "serious kill" came when he lured his 15 year old niece, Janice Kirby, and her 17 year old friend, Patricia Ann Alsbrook, into an abandoned home, where he attempted to sexually assault both girls, failed, beat them nearly to death and finished the girls off by drowning them in separate locations.

Doreen Dempsey was pregnant and had a beautiful two year old daughter, Michelle. The little family lived next door to Gaskins and though most of the town folk thought him to be mentally disturbed and steered clear of him, Dempsey had gotten to know Pee Wee and trusted him. When Pee Wee purchased a used hearse in 1973, he would "jokingly" tell people that he needed it to "haul dead bodies to my personal cemetery."Despite the rumors, Dempsey asked him for a ride to the bus station for an out-of-town trip she had planned. He agreed, and with luggage and her small daughter in tow, they set out in Gaskins' car for the bus station. He took the pregnant mother and her daughter to a wooded area where he raped and killed the young mother in front of her child. In one more act of evil, he raped and sodomized the two year old Michelle before killing her and burying her with her mother in a single grave in the "personal cemetery" Gaskins began on his property in rural Prospect, South Carolina.

In 1975, Gaskins was killing for six years straight, and the body count was rising steadily. Things started to fall apart when Pee Wee called on friend Walter Neely to help him drive a van to the auto shop Gaskins owned so that he could repaint and sell it. The van was all that was left of its three occupants, which Gaskins murdered in short order and disposed of.

John Powell and John Owens, friends of Gaskins, approached him about expanding his criminal resume in the form of murder-for-hire. Pee Wee accepted $1,500 from Suzanne Kipper Owens in exchange for murdering her boyfriend, Silas Barnwell Yates. Again, Pee Wee phoned a friend to help carry out his plan for murder. Diane Neely knocked on the door of Silas Barnwell Yates, claiming car trouble. When Yates followed her to her car to assist, Gaskins kidnapped him and fled the scene. Pee Wee met up with Owen and Powell, where he shot Yates in front of the stunned men. The three remaining men worked together to bury the deceased Yates.

Soon after the murder of Yates, Diane Neely and her boyfriend, Avery Howard, fell victim to the wrath of Gaskins when they attempted to blackmail him for $5,000. Pee Wee agreed that they did have the goods on him and agreed to meet the couple for the payoff. Gaskins quickly murdered the couple with two well placed gun shots and added them to his growing personal cemetery.

Donald Henry "Pee Wee" Gaskins was about to make a mistake that would lead to the last arrest Gaskins would ever face. When 13 year old Kim Ghelkins rejected the advances of the much older Gaskins, he brutally tortured, raped, sodomized and murdered the teenager, adding yet again to his ever-growing cemetery.

Just after the disappearance of Ghelkins, Gaskins would murder and bury in his personal cemetery two more victims. Dennis Bellamy had reached his 28th year and Johnny Knight his 15th when the duo fell victim to Pee Wee after they robbed the auto shop he owned. Walter Neely was present for the murder of the two local men and was called upon to help bury them.

Police had started to notice the missing persons that seemed to coincide with the presence of Pee Wee Gaskins. A search warrant for the home of Gaskins revealed clothing known to be worn by young Kim Ghelkins. Gaskins was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the only thing the police and prosecution had enough evidence to hold him on.

While Pee Wee Gaskins was sitting in jail, pressure began to mount on Walter Neely. Unable to carry the burden any longer, Neely told police that he was present at the murders of Dennis Bellamy and Johnny Knight, that he had helped bury them and he knew the location of other victims of Gaskins'. In December of 1975, Donald Henry "Pee Wee" Gaskins confirmed the story of Walter Neely and led police to the make-shift cemetery that he had filled with eight bodies during his reign of terror.

Both Gaskins and Neely were charged with eight counts of murder each and went to trial May 24, 1976. It didn't take long for both sides to rest their cases and leave it in the hands of a jury. On May 28, 1976, the men were found guilty of the murder of Dennis Bellamy and admitted all the others. His sentence was decided by the decision to abolish the death penalty, leaving only life imprisonment as an option.

Gaskins made friends while behind bars, and enjoyed the company of some very powerful men. One such man, mobster Frank Costello, named Gaskins "Little Hatchet Man" and offered him employment. Pee Wee, always sticking to his own script, declined and continued his murder-for-hire service inside the prison walls.

Tony Cimo was the son of the victims of Gaskins' fellow inmate, Rudolph Tyner. Cimo's parents were elderly and owned the shop Tyner chose to rob, murdering both in cold blood and leaving a grieving Cimo without his beloved parents. He hired Gaskins to kill Tyner. Pee Wee attempted to murder Tyner by poisoning his food and drink. When that didn't work, he devised a plan that earned him the name of "The Meanest Man In America."

Gaskins used a portable radio loaded with C4 to exact the punishment of death on his fellow inmate. He befriended Tyner and then gifted him the radio. A gift that Gaskins explained would allow them to speak easily between cells. He left Tyner with instructions to hold the speaker close to his ear at a predetermined time so that they might converse through the walls and get around the guards rule of no talking between inmates. Just moments after the predetermined time, Gaskins set off the C4 contained inside the radio while Tyner held it to his ear, excitedly waiting to hear from his friend. Gaskins was found guilty of the murder of Rudolph Tyner and was sentenced to death, as the death penalty was reinstated in South Carolina in 1977.

Throughout his life, Gaskins would perfect the art of torture. He often kept his victims alive for days, dragging out their misery and increasing his pleasure. He even resorted to cannibalism with a sadistic twist. He often cut pieces off of his living victims and either eat the flesh in front of them, or force them to consume their own body parts.

The day of his execution, in one last attempt to control his own destiny and be his own God, Gaskins sliced both of his wrists. Nevertheless, just hours after attempting to take his own life, Donald Henry "Pee Wee" Gaskins entered the death chamber at Broad River Correctional Institution September 6, 1991, and spoke his last words. "I'll let my lawyers talk for me, I'm ready to go." The state of South Carolina honored his wishes and at ten minutes after one, September 6, 1991, Gaskins was pronounced dead. It was the fourth time since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977 that the electric chair had been put to good use.

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About the Creator

Phoenixx Fyre Dean

Phoenixx lives on the Oregon coast with her husband and children.

Author of Lexi and Blaze: Impetus, The Bloody Truth and Daddy's Brat. All three are available on Amazon in paperback format and Kindle in e-book format.

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