‘I’m not asking nobody’s forgiveness. I got no apologies to make for my life. I always had my reasons for everything I ever done.’
(Donald Gaskins)
Gaskin kills around once every six weeks. He does it for pleasure and to calm his ‘aggravated and bothersome’ feelings. His first predatory kill occurs after a female hitchhiker laughs at him when he suggests sex. He beats her unconscious, rapes, sodomises and mutilates her, before drowning her in a swamp.
Hunting along the coastal highways, he terms the murders that follow this pattern his ‘Coastal Kills’. He tries to keep his victims alive for as long as is inhumanely possible. He tortures and mutilates before stabbing and suffocating and cannibalising his victims. He sometimes even forces them to have a last supper of their own flesh.
He claims to kill around 90 people this way. But this figure has never been corroborated.
When his murders aren’t random he terms them ‘Serious Murders’. His first is in November 1970. His niece, Janice Kirby, is 15. He tries to sexually assault her, and her friend. He then beats them both to death. Other victims are dispatched because he’s paid to kill; they owe him money, or simply because he felt they’d insulted him.
Unlike his ‘Coastal Kills’, these murders are usually quick executions.
But sometimes there’s no distinction. Doreen Demsey is an old friend of Gaskins. She’s 22, unwed, pregnant, and already a mother of a two year old girl. She decides to start afresh somewhere new and accepts a lift from Gaskins. He asks for sex in exchange for the lift to which she agrees.
He then asks for the same off her two year old.
When the mother refuses, he rapes and kills her. And then does the same to her two year old daughter. He later says
“It was the best sex of my life.”
(Donald Gaskins)