In 2014, Samuel Little, 74, was convicted of the murders of three women in Los Angeles. DNA had linked him to cold cases committed between 1987 to 1989. He received three life sentences. Authorities suspected he had probably committed other murders, however he had been reticent about confessing to any, until now.
Denise Brothers was strangled, and her body was dumped on the outskirts of Odessa in 1994. Leads dried up, and it became a cold case until the summer of 2018, when Little's DNA was connected to the crime.
He was indicted and transferred to Texas. James Holland, a Texas Ranger struck up a rapport with Little. Whether it was due to his age, or the fact that he knew he would spend the rest of his life in prison Little told him more than what authorities hoped for or even suspected. He told Holland that he had committed 90 murders throughout the United States between 1970 and 2013.
If these figures are accurate it would make him one of the most prolific serial killers this country has ever apprehended. He would outstrip Gary Ridgeway, The Green River Killer. Little also used the alias of Samuel McDowell.
Unlike other murderers that claim killings that are not their own, since his confession he has been linked to 30 different unsolved crimes. Law enforcement departments from across the country have sent officials to his jail cell hoping they can close some of their cold cases.
Once standing at 6-foot-3, Little who had been raised by his grandmother, was committing crimes since he was 16 years old. Presently bound to a wheelchair, in his youth he lead a vagabond life leaving a trail of carnage and death in his wake.
Everytime he would be set free, he would claim more victims. Between 1957 to 1975 he had been arrested 26 times in 11 states. The charges ranged from rape, aggravated assault to shoplifting and fraud.
Little targeted prostitutes and drug addicts. He would punch them into unconsciousness, and then strange them while he masturbated.
No doubt due to the risky lifestyle of his victims, it wasn't until 1976 that he came to the attention of authorities in St. Louis. Pamela Smith, a drug addict, naked below the waist started to bang the door of a random house. Her hands were bound behind her back with an electrical cord. She told police that a man fitting Little's description had beat and raped her before she was able to escape.
Police arrested Little as he was found in a car matching the description given by Smith. He clothes were inside the vehicle. He told police that he had only beat her. He was released in December 1976 after only serving three months.
Little was a loner who lead a nomadic lifestyle, with no fixed address. Throughout the years after his arrest in St. Louis he would run into trouble for the same pattern of violent attacks on women. He managed to always squeeze free.
Melinda LaPree's body was discovered in a cemetery in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was last seen with Little. When the police investigated, two other prostitutes told them that Little had attacked them. He was arrested for the murder in 1982, however a grand jury failed to indict him on the charges and he was set free. He has recently admitted to her murder
In 1984 he was acquitted on another murder charge. This stemmed from the killing of Patricia Mount in Forest Grove, Florida. Police have now tied him to the 1982 murder of Rosie Hill. Her strangled body was found in woods near a hog pen in Ocala.
According to the Ocala Star Reporter, recently an investigator from Marion County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Little about Rosie Hill's murder. He confessed only after an agreement not to be prosecuted for it. Little was asked as to why he killed the woman, he “advised that God put him on this earth to do what he was doing.”
Investigators cautioned, that this killer's newfound openness should not be read as remorse.
Once free he headed to the other side of the country, and in October 1984 he was charged with attacking a San Diego woman. He ended up pleading guilty to assault and false imprisonment after the jury deadlocked on the charge of attempted murder. A scant two and half years later he was once again free to kill more women.
The bodies piled up quickly. Carol Alford was found in a Los Angeles alley in 1987, Audrey Nelson was found in a trash can in 1989. The same year Guadalupe Apodaca's remains turned up in an abandoned building. It wasn't until April 2012 that DNA linked Little to all three murders.
In 2014 he went to trial and was convicted. He was sentenced to three life terms, insuring he would spend the rest of his life in prison.
Two unsolved murders in Macon, Georgia have been attributed to him. A Jane Doe found in 1977, and the strangling murder of Fredonia Smith in 1982.
He has confessed to the killing of Julia Critchfield, who was strangled and thrown off a cliff and into a dirt pit on the north end of Saucier, Mississippi.
Authorities in Russell, Alabama have closed a cold case for the 1979 murder of Brenda Alexander, age 23. Investigators told police that Little described that he had picked her up a local disco, and "he wrung his hands together, smiled and said, 'I knew she was mine.'"
Little has confessed to 3 murders in Louisiana. Dorothy Richard, 55, in 1982, Melissa Thomas, 29 and Daisy McGuire, 40, both in 1996. The officials of the jurisdictions can close these cold cases, but now face the quandary of whether they should prosecute a 79-year-old who is in poor health and set to spend the rest of his life in prison. Perhaps knowing the identity of their killer is the only solace their family will receive.
Hopefully Little will admit to other crimes, and other families will find solace, but inevitably all involved will ask how he was able to claim so many victims without being stopped.
What went wrong?
Source - KLOX
Marlene at Miami Ghost Chronicles is a freelance writer and paranormal researcher.
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