Samuel Little “becomes” one of America’s most prolific serial killers

Tiana Meador

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Four decades, 90 killings. That is the work of Samuel Little, 78, who, has now admitted to killing over 90, primarily women, from 1970 to 2005.

In 2014, Little was sentenced to life in prison. Throughout his criminal career he has been arrested over 100 times, one of which was linked to the murders of Carol Alford, 41, Audrey Nelson, 35, and Guadalupe Apodaca, 46 in 2012. All murders took place in Los Angeles, however,  he was caught in a Kentucky shelter, then extradited to California. These where some of the first murders that his DNA had intertwined with.

“Over the course of that interview in May, he went through city and state and gave Ranger Holland the number of people he killed in each place. Jackson, Mississippi—one; Cincinnati, Ohio—one; Phoenix, Arizona—three; Las Vegas, Nevada—one,” said Crime Analyst Christina Palazzolo  in an FBI news release.

Investigators have traveled to interview Little, and have solved 34 cases, with 16 pending. All cases were previously considered cold. 

So why admit to all of this now? Well, little was hoping to move prisons for his life sentence, until his name popped up in the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program.

“One killing in Odessa, Texas, appeared to be particularly relevant, so two FBI crime analysts and James Holland of the Texas Rangers went out to see Little to try to get him to talk. He was more than willing,” according to the FBI.

What is more bothersome about this whole scenario is the fact that Little actually targeted marginalized women. 

“Little targeted marginalized and vulnerable women who were often involved in prostitution or addicted to drugs,” the FBI article said. 

Furthermore, Little claims to remember in great detail what the killings entailed. Each and every one of them. However, he was very strategic with how he killed.

“Little’s method of killing also didn’t always leave obvious signs that the death was a homicide. The one-time competitive boxer usually stunned or knocked out his victims with powerful punches and then strangled them…With no stab marks or bullet wounds, many of these deaths were not classified as homicides but attributed to drug overdoses, accidents, or natural causes,” the FBI report continued.

However, nowadays, this method would not slide. The FBI estimates that  majority of his killings took place before DNA technology was available- in the 1980s, but her managed to strategically plan well enough to further evade it in the early 2000s.

None of this is a new trend sadly, and although it is taking America by shock, this speaks to how we allow these workers to slip through the cracks. From 1982 to 1998, Gary Ridgway (aka the Green River Killer), confessed to killing 48 sex workers, which at the time, made him the most prolific. Or what about Robert Hansen? Hansen murdered around 15 to 21 sex workers in Alaska, between 1980 and 1983. Even Joel Rifkin confessed to killing 17 sex workers in New York from 1989 to 1993. This is no new trend, and like Little’s case, Rifkin’s went without any missing persons reports filed, until the 2000s.

According to Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland, these are stunning confessions that make little the most prolific serial killer in US history, however if you ask me, there are only 34 confirmed and this killing of marginalized women is nothing new.

“There’s been a lot of cooperation for law enforcement across the country as Texas Rangers are in the process of verifying the murders,” Bland told CNN.

Are we left to ponder why Little would do such a thing? At the end of the day he targeted the most disadvantaged at the time, so he could get away with it, and that is sickening.