I totally washed out last weekend as far as weekly blog features are concerned. I promise to do better. In the meantime, this week’s Flashback Friday is of Martha Ann Dicks, a nineteen-year-old who went missing in the spring of 1972, over forty years ago. I don’t know much about her and don’t even have a good photograph, Martha had some unusual traits: she went by the male name “Clyde” and habitually wore men’s clothing.
Martha was almost certainly a victim of serial killer Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins. Murder and Mayhem in the Holy City, a book about crimes in the history of Charleston, South Carolina, has a chapter on Gaskins and this is what it says about Martha’s murder:
A few months later, Gaskins committed another “serious murder.” The victim was Martha Dicks, a harmless braggart he affectionately called “Clyde.” Though Pee Wee was occasionally annoyed by Dicks, he let her hang around his garage, telling jokes and flirting with him. Dicks started telling people that she and Pee Wee were intimate and that she was pregnant with his child. That joke was enough for a death sentence. Gaskins killed her with chemicals he’d pilfered from a photographer after hearing him caution folks, “Don’t ever handle this stuff up here. It would kill you if you did.” Gaskins poured a strong dose of the liquid into a drink of Coca-Cola. “She turned it up to her head and the next thing I knowed, the bottle hit the floor.” He shoved the body in the backseat of his car, then discarded it in a ditch.”
We’re probably not going to learn any more because Gaskins was executed in 1991 — ironically, not for his serial murder spree, but for killing another prison inmate while serving LWOP.
Martha’s body has never been found and I doubt it will be at this late date.