Facts of Donald Henry Gaskins
|Full Name:||Donald Henry Gaskins|
|Age:||88 years 1 months|
|Birth Date:||March 13, 1933|
|Lucky Color:||Sea Green|
|Best Match for Marriage:||Cancer, Scorpio|
|Death Date:||September 06, 1991|
|Birth Place:||Florence County, South Carolina|
|Mother's Name:||Eulea Parrott|
|Marital Status:||Not Known|
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Donald Henry Gaskins is a serial killer of the USA. His life story is one which is an example of child neglect and lapses of the authorities and the society as a whole. Donald was both a victim and an aggressor at different times! He had managed to and was successful to escape his confinements three times. He is one of the most prolific and scheming murderers in the history of South Carolina crime history. He did live an awful life of a criminal from his childhood days to his death in 1991.
Donald Henry Gaskins’s childhood was one of unhappiness and abuse and neither the correctional homes nor any other support could reform him. The first murder he committed was in 1953 and no amount of punishments deterred him from committing the 1982 murder of a prison inmate. The severity of his crimes only increased over time which again points to the ineffectiveness of the measures taken to correct and reform him. It could also be due to the deep impact on the mind of his childhood sufferings.
The non-petty childhood crimes
Donald was born on 13 March 1933. He was from Florence County, South Carolina. His mother was Eulea Parrott. He was the last of her many illegitimate children. Eulea neglected Donald Henry Gaskins and he was beaten up often by his various stepfathers. He had convulsions and night terrors. Due to his small body, he was called Pee Wee.
Along with his school friends, he had gang-raped the sister of a school dropout friend and also done a string of robberies. He was trialed and sent to a reform school.
He was subjected to rape by his fellow inmates at the reform school. He fled from there and got married. The name and details of his ‘wife’ are not known. He voluntarily returned to the reform school and was released at age 18.
Life after release from the remand home and the prison term
He went to work on a tobacco plantation. In 1953, he tried to kill a teenage girl with a hammer after she allegedly insulted him. He was sentenced to 6 years at the Central Correctional Institution. Here Donald Henry Gaskins was raped but he retaliated by killing the most feared inmate of CCI, Hazel Brazell. His prison term was extended by 3 years.
In 1955, he escaped by hiding behind a garbage truck and went to Florida. He began work with a traveling carnival. He was re-arrested but in August 1961, he was paroled.
Life after parole, the escape, rearrest, sentence and the second parole
Imprisonment did not seem to have changed Donald Henry Gaskins since he returned to his life of robberies and crimes after his release from jail. He raped a 12-year-old girl and was arrested. But while awaiting the trial, he escaped. He was rearrested in Georgia and sentenced to 8 years in prison. He managed to get parole in November 1968. He relocated to Sumter and started working with Ford Roof Company.
The hitchhiker murders or coastal kills
In September 1969, he murdered a hitchhiker after torture and sunk his body in a swamp. His memoir states him saying:
“All I could think about is how I could do anything I wanted to her.”
He killed nearly 80-90 such hitchhikers along the coastal highways of the American South. These ‘coastal kills’ as he calls them were both male and female and were purely for pleasure. He used to torture and mutilate them. The method of killings was different-suffocation, stabbing, shooting, mutilation, etc.
The ‘serious’ murders
In November 1970, Donald Henry Gaskins switched to serious murders of those he knew. He killed his niece Janice Kirby, 15, and her friend Patricia Ann Alsbrook, 17. He killed people who had mocked him, owed him money, or stolen from him.
He buried them around the coastal areas of South Carolina. He also killed his neighbor Doreen Dempsey, aged 23 and 8 months pregnant, and her two-year-old daughter in 1973. In 1975, he was hired by Suzanne Kipper Owens to kill her boyfriend, Silas Barnwell Yates. He committed 4 more murders to hide the murder of Silas.
The final arrest
Some of his close associates knew that he was ready to kill people for money. In November 1975, his game was up when one of his associates Walter Neeley spilled the beans. Walter had seen Donald kill Dennis Bellamy, 28, and Johnny Knight, 15. Donald Henry Gaskins was arrested and he led the police to the place where he had buried the bodies. 8 bodies were unearthed.
He was sentenced to death on 28 May 1976. It was later converted to life imprisonment due to certain rule changes. While in prison, on 2 September 1982, he killed a death row inmate Rudolph Tyner using a C-4 plastic explosive. Rudolph had a couple of Bill and Myrtle Moon during a robbery gone wrong. Myrtle’s son Tony Cimo had paid Donald to kill Rudolph. A sadist Donald said in his memoir:
“The last thing he [Tyner] heard was me laughing.”
The death sentence again
He was trialed for this final murder and sentenced to death. The execution was done in an electric chair on 6 September 1991 at 1.10 am. He had a failed suicide bid before the execution.
His last words were:
“I’ll let my lawyers talk for me. I’m ready to go.”
Nothing is known about his wife and her whereabouts.
Due to the varied nature of his crimes, he was labeled and given different names. These include:
Meanest Man in America, The Redneck Charles Manson, Junior Parrott, Pee Wee, Serial Killa, hitchhiker murderer, hitchhiker killer, and the like.