Did a Convicted Serial Killer Actually Murder More Than 90 People Across the U.S.? Police Investigate
Authorities in Texas say a 78-year-old convicted serial killer may be responsible for more than 90 murders across the United States, PEOPLE confirms.
Samuel Little is serving three life sentences in the strangulation deaths of three women in California.
He was brought to Texas in May and gave details about multiple slayings that allegedly occurred in there and in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, California, Indiana, Arizona, New Mexico and South Carolina between 1970 to 2005, prosecutors say.
“He has confessed to over 90 murders and they have been able to match over 30 [of his confessions to murders] and continue to make other matches as they go along,” Ector County, Texas, District Attorney Bobby Bland tells PEOPLE. “We expect more.”
Bland says Little’s first confession was about the 1994 murder of Denise Christie Brothers in Odessa, Texas. He told a Texas Ranger “who was able to gain his trust,” according to Bland — after that, various law enforcement agents from across the country came to interview him about their cases.
“They left convinced they had their killer,” Bland says.
Proving whether or not Little is telling the truth in every case — or possibly admitting to things he didn’t commit for the attention — may be impossible. Some of the slayings are decades old and, in total, they cover jurisdictions thousands of miles apart. But investigators aren’t ignoring him.
“The fact that our case can be used to give answers to the loves ones for the victims across the country is really amazing and humbling,” Bland says.
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If Little is telling the truth “I guess that would put him at the top of heap as far as serial killers go,” says Wise County, Texas, Sheriff Lane Akin. “I think it is a tragic situation, but on the other hand there are a lot of people who have been looking for answers probably for more than 30 years and I hope maybe some answers will be provided.”
Little, a drifter, was one of six serial killers operating in the South Los Angeles area in the 1980s, preying on drug users and prostitutes. Grim Sleeper serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr. was also among that group.
In 2014, Little was sentenced to three consecutive terms of life in prison without parole for the vicious beating and strangulation murders of Carol Alford, 41, Audrey Nelson, 35, and 46-year-old Guadalupe Apodaca. All three victims were dumped in back alleys in South L.A. between 1987 and 1989.
Beth Silverman, who prosecuted Little in L.A., says she and two detectives went to Texas recently about cases in their area.
“He detailed about 20 murders here in Los Angeles,” all of which occurred in the early ’80s, she tells PEOPLE. “Most of the women were women he picked up and then either did drugs with or murdered fairly quickly,” she says.
But Silverman says it is difficult to say if Little is being honest.
“Can I say he is telling the truth? In general, I don’t know,” she says, “but he did mention in some cases there were some names and locations and specifics about those crime scenes.”
Still, she can’t discount that he “wants media attention because he is lonely.”
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Corroboration is tricky. “When you are talking about L.A., where you have multiple agencies, it is not so easy,” Silverman says. “It is like finding a needle in a haystack.”
As to why Little would confess, Silverman says, “I think he didn’t like it here in California, and he made a deal with the Texas Rangers that he would give up a hundred murders around the country if they moved him out of California to Texas.”
One thing Silverman is sure of is that Little didn’t confess because he was feeling remorseful.
“Serial killers, none of them have remorse because otherwise they wouldn’t be a serial killer, they wouldn’t keep going back and doing it again,” she says. “It is the whole sociopathy of the fact that they enjoy it.”
Little, she says, was likely motivated by a sexual fixation on strangling his victims.
“I would say this is an individual not capable of remorse,” she says. “He is just evil and a monster.”