In August 1961, he was released from prison and returned to South Carolina, and started burglarizing homes again. He was arrested for the statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl, but he escaped to North Carolina in a stolen car.
He then picked up a female hitchhiker in North Carolina in 1969 and beat her until she was unconscious. He then raped, sodomized, and tortured her before dumping her body in a swamp.
He then went on to kill at least a dozen other people. He claimed to have tortured and mutilated his victims while attempting to keep them alive for as long as possible to extend their suffering.
Some of his confirmed victims are: his own niece Janice Kirby, 15, and her friend, Patricia Ann Alsbrook, 17; Martha Ann Dicks, 20; Doreen Hope Dempsey, 22, and her two-year-old daughter, Robin Michelle Dempsey; criminal associate Johnny Sellers, 36; Silas Barnwell Yates, 45; Diane Bellamy Neeley, 25, and her boyfriend Avery Leroy Howard, 34; and half brothers Dennis Bellamy, 27, and John Henry Knight, 15.
His last arrest was for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, 13-year-old Kim Ghelkins, who had gone missing in September 1975. During their search for the missing girl, police discovered eight bodies buried near Gaskins's home in Prospect, South Carolina.