By Evie Fordham
A 78-year-old prisoner already serving out three consecutive life sentences for three killings confessed to 90 additional murders, a Texas prosecutor revealed earlier in November.
Lifelong drifter Samuel Little confessed a multitude of murders to authorities that could earn him the dubious title of deadliest serial killers in U.S. history. He confessed after the FBI connected him to an Odessa, Texas, cold case that’s been unsolved since 1994, reported NBC News.
The California prisoner confessed to the murders, many of which had remained uncorroborated, as part of a deal to let him move prisons. Little is in “poor health” and has been in prison since 2014, according to the FBI.
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The FBI matched 34 of Little’s confessions with cold cases. Perhaps the details of cases from Mississippi to Georgia in which victims are known only as “Jane Doe” will finally come to light. (RELATED: ‘Serial Killer’ Border Patrol Agent Charged In Murders Of Four Sex Workers)
Many of the victims’ cases languished because they were on the outskirts of society — prostitutes and drug addicts whose deaths were not always ruled a homicide, according to the FBI. Virtually all of the alleged victims were women, and most of them were black.
Why Is Little in Texas?
Little was in a Texas court Monday for a pretrial hearing related to the murder of Denise Christie Brothers in Odessa, Texas. The hearing reportedly lasted less than 10 minutes, and both parties will appear in court again in a few weeks as the prosecution team is still collecting evidence regarding the murder Little has already confessed to, according to CBS 7.
Brothers was 38 when she was strangled. Her body wasn’t found for a month after her disappearance, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Four Decades Of Murders?
Little confessed to murders he says go back to 1970. The breakthrough came when the FBI tied him to Brothers’s murder, and Texas Ranger James Holland traveled to California to interview Little. Representatives from the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP), which connected Little to the Texas case, assisted Holland.
“Over the course of that interview in May,” ViCAP analyst Christina Palazzolo said according to the FBI. “[Little] went through city and state and gave Ranger Holland the number of people he killed in each place. Jackson, Miss. — one; Cincinnati — one; Phoenix— three; Las Vegas — one.”
The FBI published an online map with details of all of the murders Little claims to be responsible for, from southern California to northeast Ohio.
“The biggest lesson in this case is the power of information sharing. These connections all started in our database of violent crime,” ViCAP supervisory analyst Kevin Fitzsimmons said in a statement published by the FBI Tuesday.
Already Convicted for Three Killings
Little was convicted of the three murders that landed him in jail years after the fact. Los Angeles Police Department detectives traced him via DNA evidence to the murders of three women in that area that took place between 1987 and 1989.
Little’s modus operandi was the same in all three cases. A former competitive boxer, Little beat and strangled the women and left their bodies in an alley, a dumpster, and a garage, according to the FBI. The crimes were likely sexual in nature.
Little had been charged with killing two women in Mississippi and Florida in the early 1980s but escaped conviction, according to the FBI. He had gotten in trouble for smaller crimes like shoplifting, fraud, and breaking and entering dating back to 1956. He sometimes went by the name “Samuel McDowell,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
If the FBI confirms Little was behind as many murders as he says he was, he would rank among some of the country’s most notorious serial killers.
Ted Bundy was convicted of killing three people in the late 1970s but said he had killed 30 women, according to Fox News. Cannibalistic murderer Jeffrey Dahmer confessed to killing more than 12 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. And serial killer and rapist John Wayne Gacy was executed in 1994 after killing 33 men and boys in the 1970s, according to USA Today.
Serial killers have long fascinated Americans and occupied a space in pop culture, especially in movies. The story of Dahmer’s early years was told in the 2017 movie “My Friend Dahmer,” and former Disney star Zac Efron is set to portray Bundy in a film premiering in January 2019.
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