He’s now considered to be what may be the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history – and somehow he flew almost completely under the radar.
On Friday, a Texas prosecutor revealed that a 79-year-old California inmate is now linked to more than 60 killings in at least 14 states.
According to Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland, Samuel Little continues to cooperate with investigators from around the country who have been interrogating him in prison about cold case killings going all the way back to the 70’s.
Little grew up in Ohio, and among those who spoke with him were investigators from there where he’s suspected of killing at least five women.
He was convicted of killing three Los Angeles-area women. He also pleaded guilty to killing a Texas woman, and right now he’s serving life sentences in California.
But the killer, who lived a nomadic lifestyle, claims he murdered 93 women as he traveled the country over the years.
So why now?
Apparently Little is in failing health and has exhausted his appeals, so he’s finally being forthcoming with investigators.
“At this point in his life I think he’s determined to make sure that his victims are found,” he said.
His trial took place in 2014 in Los Angeles. At that time, prosecutors said he was most likely responsible for at least 40 killings since 1980.
At the time, investigators looking for possible links to deaths in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Texas.
But back then, he didn’t volunteer any information. Bland credits Texas Ranger James Holland with gaining Little’s trust and eventually securing a series of confessions.
Last year, Holland took a trip to California to speak with little about Texas cold cases. As a result, Little was extradited to Texas. He gave a guilty plea in December in the 1994 strangulation death of Denise Christie Brothers in the West Texas city of Odessa.
Little has since returned to California to serve his sentences, but Holland has continued conversations with him.
It was Holland who determined that he was responsible for 93 deaths, said Bland, who received an update from Holland this week.
Holland passed along that information to police in several states, which opened the floodgates to investigators going to California to corroborate decades-old deaths.
Among those investigators? Several from Ohio, where on Friday prosecutors announced charges against Little in the 1981 killing of a Cincinnati woman. He was also charged last week in the deaths of two women in Cleveland.
He previously was charged in a second Cincinnati killing and had also confessed to another one in Cleveland, although investigators are still trying to identify the victim in that case.
Little’s victims often were suffocated or strangled. But in many of the cases, he left very few physical marks. That lead investigators to determine the women died of overdoses or of natural causes.
“There’s still been no false information given,” Bland said. “Nothing has been proven to be false.”
Little is now battling diabetes and heart disease and is imprisoned in a Los Angeles prison. He’s drawn sketches of many of the women who he claims he murdered decades ago, and while he remembers details about the crimes, he says he can’t remember their names.
But all of the murders followed a similar pattern.
“He strangled them. That is the way he enjoyed his pleasure,” Deters said.
“He specifically looked for girls with a certain neck type,” he said. “That’s how twisted this guy is.”
His day job? Prosecutors say Little was a shoplifter, and at night he staked out troubled neighborhoods and targeted women who were homeless, prostitutes or addicted to drugs.
Prosecutors say they were targets who Little determined “no one would miss.”