Pee Wee Gaskins began burglarizing homes and getting into trouble when he was very young, so he was sent to reform school. Over the years, his crimes kept escalating and he started torturing and murdering people. He got away with the murders for a long time and didn't stop when he was sent to prison. He ended up using a homemade bomb to blow up an inmate on death row.
20-year-old Martha Dicks liked to hang around the shop that Pee Wee worked at and she typically stopped by a few times a week. The two got along just fine, but Martha began joking about sleeping with Pee Wee and telling the other guys in the garage they had fooled around. He eventually had enough of the jokes and asked her to stick around one night after the garage was closed. He claims he told her to stop making fun of him and she was rude and flipped him off. Martha disappeared for a few weeks, but she eventually came back to the garage and announced that she was pregnant with Pee Wee's child and the baby was going to be named Pee Wee Dicks. He told her to stick around the garage again so they could talk. He told Martha that if she was going to say they slept together, they may as well do it. He brought her to a house and handed her pill bottles that he had from his Coastal kills. Martha took some pills and washed them down with beer. Once Martha was pretty fucked up, Pee Wee beat her and forced the rest of the pills down her throat. He loaded her in the car and drove her to a farm and dumped her body in a ditch.
In 1971, Pee Wee picked up 16 year old Anne Colberson near Myrtle Beach. He says she was very nice to him the whole time. He didn't necessarily feel that he needed to kill someone this time, but he wanted to. He turned off the highway and told Anne that he was taking her to a great barbecue place. They went to a house and he kept her alive for four days of torture. He says that since she was so nice, he eventually knocked her out so she didn't have to scream so much. He dug a grave when he was done and buried her near the same area that Janice was buried.
Pee Wee knew that he couldn't stay in the area much longer. He ended up moving to Charleston with his wife and child and he sold guns to Eddie and Bertie Brown. He was telling people that he was looking for military weapons for collectors, but he was just selling them to Eddie and Bertie. Pee Wee also found out that fully automatics were worth more money than semi automatics, so he learned how to convert them. The Browns told Pee Wee that federal agents had been in Charleston looking for illicit arms dealers. He thought this may be a set up, so he murdered the couple. He tossed Bertie in a grave and he had a tougher time with Eddie. When he drug him to the grave, he saw his intestines trailing behind him. He buried the couple in the same grave together.
In 1973, Pee Wee moved to Prospect, South Carolina because someone burned his house down and he murdered three more people, starting with a 14 year old runaway Jackie Freeman. Jackie left home because she says her stepfather was abusing her. Pee Wee took the girl to an abandoned house he found and tortured her for a few days. He also claims he sliced a few parts from her, cooked them, and ate them. Typically, he didn't remember the name of his Coastal Kill victims, but he felt that Jackie was special because she was now part of him. When he was done with the torture, he dug a grave and buried Jackie. Then, he bought an old hearse and told people at his favorite bar that he needed it to haul all the people he killed to his private cemetery. He was living in Prospect, South Carolina with his wife and child. The townspeople figured he was mentally disturbed and shrugged it off. Pee Wee put a sign in the window of his new vehicle that said: We haul anything, living or dead.
23 year old Doreen Dempsey was a mother of a two year old baby girl, Robin and she was pregnant with her second child. She needed a place to stay and was down on her luck. She asked if she could live with Pee Wee until the baby was born, but he said he didn't have the room. He ended up taking Doreen outside and told her she could stay in a trailer he had and it would be rent free, but he expected sexual favors in return. He went in the house and told his wife that he gave Doreen $20 and he was driving her to the bus station. He took her to a wooded area, raped and killed her, I literally don't want to say the next sentence, this is horrifying. He raped and sodomized her daughter, then killed the child and buried the two of them together.
In 1974, Pee Wee drove up behind two people and thought they were girls. It turned out, that it was two fourteen year old boys with long hair. He brought them to a hideout near Charleston and he sodomized and tortured them. Then he cooked their genitals and ate them before killing them. He brought them to the marsh and sunk their bodies.
In 1974, 36 year old Johnny Sellars owed Pee Wee $1,000 for auto parts. He was actually the guy that had dropped Dorreen and her daughter Robin at his house and they ended up being murder victims of his. It was taking a long time for him to pay the money and Pee Wee was sick of his excuses. He chased him around the woods and shot him with a rifle, but then he realized he had another problem. Pee Wee didn't want Johnny's girlfriend to alert the police. So, he went to pick up Jessie Ruth and told her that Johnny was waiting for them to go pick him up. He drove Jessie to the same spot where he killed Johnny, plunged a knife in her back, and buried Johnny and Jessie in the same grave. Jessie had been married to James Judy and he actually got charged for the murders because police assumed there was a jealousy motive. They also got someone named Belton Eaddy for accessory to murder.
Horace Jones was another car thief and he decided to pursue Pee Wee's wife when he was out of town for a few days. He said, “That pissed me off-not so much him trying to fuck my wife, but the way he went about doing it. I mean, if he had come straight to me like a man and asked to make a deal with me for my wife, I would probably have give her to him, for a night or a week, or to keep, if the offer were good enough.” Pee Wee had already dug the grave, so he lead Horace to it, forced him to climb in, and shot him.
In 1975 when Pee Wee 42-years-old, he was killing one person a month on average and he found a van that was broken down on the highway and murdered three people. He fixed the van in a few minutes, but told the three people that it needed a new water pump and he would take them to get it. He lured the three into the woods, tortured them and made them do things to each other while he watched. Then, he sunk all three bodies in the swamp. He actually needed help getting rid of the van, so he went to an ex-con Walter Neely for help. Walter drove the van to Pee Wee's garage, and he painted it so he could sell it.
That same year, Pee Wee was paid $1500 to kill Silas Yates, a wealthy farmer from Florence County. Suzanne Kipper was a pissed off ex-girlfriend and she hired him to get the job done. Silas was lured out of his home by Diane Neely who claimed she was having car troubles. He came out to help her and Pee Wee kidnapped and murdered him and buried his body. He had two witnesses watching and helping him. After thinking things through, Pee Wee realized that he needed to make sure the woman who set the hit up stayed quiet. He went to visit Suzanne Kipper to confirm they were on the same page. Once he saw her, he realized he was attracted to her. So, he said he wanted to have her anytime he wanted and he wouldn't killer her. Suzanne agreed to this.
Diane Neely and her boyfriend, Avery Howard decided to blackmail Pee Wee for $5000 in hush money. Diane was the one who helped lure Yates outside to be murdered. She told her boyfriend about the murder and he got really mad. Not because she helped with a murder. He was upset that Pee Wee only gave her $300 to lure the man outside. He knew that Yates was a rich man and he felt she deserved more money. Diane went to Pee Wee and asked for $5k and he hugged her and said she was right, she should get more money. He told the couple to meet him near Prospect to get their money. The next night, he went to a club to make sure people saw him there for his alibi. He eventually headed out to meet up with Diane and Avery and he gave them Bourbon. He told the couple that he hid is money in a safe that was in a hollowed out tree in the middle of a swamp. The three of them were heading there and Pee Wee shot Diane and Avery and buried them in a grave together.
In the summer of 1975, Pee Wee had moved onto wife number six and she was 18 years old. They began meeting up with a group of people at the beach and they would all take their kids with. 13 year old Kim Ghelkins was going to the beach with everyone and Pee Wee liked her. He started touching her when he could and eventually exposed himself to her and she got upset and stopped coming around unless others were there too. One day, he let Kim know that he was driving to Sumter to visit his daughter and he wanted to take her with. He whispered to her that he would keep his zipper zipped, so she agreed to go. He raped Kim, burned, and cut her, and murdered this poor child. He wanted to bury Kim at the same place he buried Janice, but he couldn't because someone was now living in that house.
Pee Wee got a little nervous after murdering Kim, so he decided to head back to Charleston. When he got there, he found out that the garage he had that was full of stolen parts and cars, was completely cleared out. Two local guys, Johnny Knight and Dennis Bellamy ended up robbing Pee Wee's repair shop and were both killed. He ended up calling Walter Neely for help again. He witnessed the murder and the two of them buried the bodies. I think this is odd that he's calling an accomplice all of a sudden after operating alone for so long. He even pointed out the graves of other locals and told Walter who he had buried in his cemetery.
At this point, the police were actually being pointed in the direction of Pee Wee in 13 year old Kim Ghelkins disappearance. They ended up searching his mobile home and found her clothing. Police went to his pal, Walter Neely and pressed him for information. He didn't say anything, but he wasn't sure where to turn... Pee Wee didn't necessarily know about all the commotion in his old town. He decided to head back to his old town to meet up with his daughter. He parked a half mile away and walked through the woods. A Deputy was parked across the street from his daughter' place and Pee Wee got the eff out of there. He made it to a phone and called his friend Walter. His voice was shaky and Walter told him there was a warrant for his arrest.
Pee Wee was soon arrested and Walter got more nervous. Walter began feeling guilty for being present during the murders of Dennis and Johnny and he knew about Diane's murder and was having dreams about this. He needed to talk to someone, so, he went to his preacher and confessed. The preacher convinced Walter to go to the police. When police learned of Diane's murder, they assumed Walter was in on this too because Diane Neely used to be married to Walter. Pee Wee Gaskins and Walter Neely were charged with 8 counts of murder.
On May 24th, 1976, trial started and on May 28th, Pee Wee was found guilty and was sentenced to death. Walter Neely was sentenced to life in prison. Pee Wee did not want the electric chair. He figured he should start giving the police some tips about where they could find other bodies so he could cut a deal. He told them they would find Patricia's body buried in a septic tank.
In November 1976, the US Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. If this story wasn't disgusting enough, this next part seals the deal. He got so much fucking attention for what he had done. Pee Wee was convicted of two murders, 7 more were hanging over his head and he walked away from death row. This blew up on the news and men were shaking his hand in the yard and asking him to pose in pictures with their families when they got visitors.
Even though Pee Wee refused to tell anyone where he hid the other bodies, they were starting to be discovered. After police located Patricia in the septic tank, they found Barnwell Yates, Kim Ghelkins, and Martha Dicks. Suddenly, he realized that Walter was telling the police everything. The bodies were all in very different locations and wouldn't just be stumbled upon. The police were only discovering the bodies that Pee Wee told Walter about,
In April of 1977, trial was starting for the murder of Barnwell Yates. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
The death penalty was legalized again in South Carolina in 1978. Up until this point, the prosecutor hadn't gone after Pee Wee for the other seven murder charges. As soon as the death penalty was back in action, he was ready. They did tell him he could make a deal though. If Pee Wee agreed to plead guilty for all seven murders, they wouldn't go for the death penalty. They would give him seven life sentences following the two life sentences he already had. He would have to give full confessions with details of the murders and answer any questions they had about the murders. Then, he had to go to the hospital to get a truth serum to be questioned again so they could verify the information was truthful.
Pee Wee agreed to this and was interrogated for three days. He spent time rehearsing stories and he knew how to get them embedded in his memory so he could pass polygraphs and it turns out that his methods also worked with truth serum. As it turns out, the prosecutor tricked Pee Wee into taking the deal to escape the death penalty. The murders were committed before the new Capital Punishment Law had been passed, so he couldn't have gotten the death penalty for the murders. They needed his confessions to prove he did the murders because they didn't have enough evidence.
Pee Wee was always good at maintenance work, so it made sense that he would get a maintenance job in prison. He was no longer on death row himself, but he was allowed to go to that block with guards to fix things. He got to know the area and he had one of the worst records of anyone in prison. In 1980, he was approached by someone called Pop. He said there was a man on the outside with money and he needed a man on death row shanked. A couple named Bill and Myrtle Moon had been murdered in their store by a man on death row named Rudolph Tyner. The couple's son, Tony Cimo, didn't feel like waiting around for this guy to get the electric chair and was worried the sentence could be overturned. Tony wanted revenge and wanted someone to murder Rudolph for him. Pee Wee decided to accept the challenge.
He kicked things off with a bit of research. He got Rudolph's file to learn about him and the things he'd done. He asked the kitchen trusties about the things Rudolph liked to eat and the canteen trusties told him the snacks Rudolph liked to order. Rudolph had a drug history in his file, so Pee Wee went to the Yard and got three joints. He told a guard that there was a water drip and he needed to fix a pipe in Rudolph's cell. He was brought to the cell and as he tinkered with the pipe, he told Rudolph that he needed to alert a guard if it leaked more. Pee Wee slid the three joints under Rudolph's mattress before he left the cell. He went back to Pop the next day and told him he could do the job, but he wanted to deal with Tony Cimo without a middle man. If this guy was ordering the hit, he felt he should deal with him directly.
Pee Wee recorded all conversations between himself and Tony for the next year. He figured he wouldn't get caught for the murder, he'd eventually escape from prison, and he could blackmail Tony so he could get the money he needed to move to another country. After he was safe, he planned to send the tapes to the Prosecutor and the Press to make sure Tony and everyone else got in trouble and he wanted to make sure he got credit for being the only one who could murder someone on death row.
Plans were in motion and Pee Wee needed help from other inmates to get this job done. He had more joints sent to Rudolph through a kitchen trustee. He received a note from Rudolph that said, “Thank you Pee Wee. Now get me some horse.” The next day, he went to the Yard and got heroin to be sent on his dinner tray. Then, Pee Wee said he needed to check on the leaky pipes in the cell and a guard brought him there. He told the guard he would buy a pop for him and Rudolph if he would go get them. The guard agreed to this. As soon as the guard left, Rudolph said he needed more drugs and Pee Wee said he would make that happen for him. He called Tony and said he needed to send him powdered poison. He advised him to put the poison in a plastic baggy, put the baggy on the bottom layer of a box of candy, then re-wrap the box.
The poison soon arrived, and Pee Wee mixed the powder in some ketchup and poured it over the vienna sausages. The tray was brought to Rudolph and he ended up getting a stomach ache and went to the infirmary. Pee Wee originally thought it was enough poison to kill him by morning. Over the next few months, he attempted to kill Rudolph five separate times and none of the poisons worked. He put poison in sausages, rolled it in reefer, mixed it in heroin, and put it in iced tea. Nothing worked. He called Tony again and told him to stop sending powdered poison. He needed something that was guaranteed to kill anyone. The new poison arrived and it was liquid. Pee Wee went to the cell to fix the plumbing again and gave Rudolph the poison. He poured it in a cup and told him it was a new street drug like LSD. The next morning, Rudolph went to the infirmary, but he didn't die.
Pee Wee called Tony and said he was done playing nice....no more poison...he needed explosives. He told Tony everything he needed and they split the delivery into three parts and mailed everything to three different inmates, from three different locations. The electric screw connectors and plugs were sent in cigarette packages. The C-four was inside the hollowed out heels of a pair of boots. When Pee Wee was ready, he went back to Rudolph's cell and said they should set up a way to communicate. He told him he could wire the cell and make a home made telephone. He said he'd send him a plastic cup with a speaker in it and a time to test the phone would be written on the bottom of the cup.
The plastic cup was sent to Rudolph the next day and he followed the directions. He hooked the cup to the wires that Pee Wee put in his cell and at the specified time, He announced that he was there and put the cup to his ear. Pee Wee plugged the other end of the wire into the electrical outlet in his cell and KABOOM! The explosion rocked the whole block. Pee Wee says the last thing Rudolph heard through the speaker-cup was the sound of him laughing before his head blew off. At the beginning, the media reported that Rudolph blew himself up, but there were snitches in prison and it didn't take long for the story to get out.
This wouldn't have mattered to Pee Wee originally, but he murdered a prisoner, Rudolph Tyner for money and received the death penalty. A hit had been ordered on Rudolph and Pee Wee accepted the job. He became friends with Rudolph, then he began slipping him junk food, marijuana, pills, and heroin that were poisoned. Somehow, this guy lived through each poisoning attempt and would only get a stomach ache. Pee Wee increased the amount of poison each time, but Rudolph lived on. After the sixth round of poisoning didn't work, Pee Wee decided to bomb him. The items needed for this were smuggled past the guards in the heels of hollowed out cowboy boots. Pee Wee told Rudolph he was going to install a homemade intercom between their cells. The men sychronized their watches for the test run on September 12, 1982. When it was time, Rudolph pressed the plastic cup to his hear and Pee Wee later said, “The last thing he heard through that speaker-cup before it blew his head off, was me laughing.”
Pee Wee was surprised that he got caught, but he figured he would just get another life sentence because they'd have to try him with the others involved and they couldn't all get the death penalty. Things didn't work out like he planned though. It was decided that Pee Wee would be tried separate from the rest of the group that was involved. Tony Cimo, the guy that actually ordered they hit, got 25 years and would be eligible for parole after serving 30 months. People sympathized with him and understood that he wanted revenge since Rudolph murdered his parents. Pee Wee was sentenced to death. You can imagine that officials weren't thrilled about someone being able to easily murder an inmate on death row and smuggle a bunch of drugs and explosives in. It was embarrassing and it made them look like fucking stupid. The Warden put Pee Wee in a dungeon and he was isolated from everybody. The cell was small and the door was barred, but three feet from the door, there was another made of solid steel. Pee Wee couldn't see or hear anything anymore.....he was in there for almost four years.
His lawyers kept trying to get him out of isolation and in 1985, they had a court hearing scheduled to ask the Warden to move him. Suddenly, the State Law Enforcement Division and the State Department of Corrections said they had reliable information that Pee Wee was plotting to kidnap and use the children of a state official to bargain for his release. If this is true, they had to keep him in isolation indefinitely. Now, I doubt this could be true because he wasn't allowed to talk to anyone for four years. How would there be such reliable information that he was plotting a kidnapping? Either way, the kidnapping story was sent to the media and everyone supported him staying in isolation. In 1986, the maximum security unity building was condemned and closed down. It was unsafe for human occupancy and that's when Pee Wee was finally moved to Death Row block.
Pee Wee didn't want the death penalty, so he started confessing to other murders. One of the confessions was for killing 13 year old Peggy Cuttino, but William Pierce was already sentenced to life in prison for that murder, so they didn't believe him. He decided to fill his time by running an art scam. He traced cartoon characters from newspapers and sold them to collectors of Death Row memorabilia. He also helped another inmate escape. Suzanne had received a life sentence for the Barnwell Yates murder even though she wasn't there when it happened, she just paid Pee Wee to do it. She wrote a letter to Pee Wee and gave him the number to a payphone at The Women's Center. They began talking and she said she needed to escape and was looking for his advice and some good running shoes. He gave Suzanne an escape plan and he called in favors from the outside to make sure she got everything she needed. Suzanne followed his directions and she got out.
Wilton Earle interviewed Pee Wee many times on death row between May 1990 and August 1991 and he taped the conversations. The author allowed him to give his own version of his life without judgment and gave us a peek into a serial killer's mind. The interviews were used for the Final Truth book.
Execution day was September 6th, 1991. Pee Wee slashed his wrists just to prove that he could have taken his own life if he wanted to. His arms were stitched up, he smiled, and he gave a thumbs up and said, “I'm ready to go.”
Final Truth: The Autobiography of a Serial Killer by Donald H. Gaskins and Wilton Earle