There has been a lot of articles in the news recently pertaining to a convicted criminal named Samuel Little. The question being asked is “Is Samuel Little America’s most prolific serial killer?”
So who is Little, and why now after several years of incarceration are we just hearing about him?
Samuel Little, who is now 79 years old, was originally convicted four years ago for a string of murders in the LA area in the eighties. He was connected to the unsolved murders through DNA he had left at the crime scene and was tracked down and arrested in Kentucky where he had been staying at a homeless shelter. While behind bars DNA evidence connected him to an unsolved murder from the mid-nineties in Texas. The discovery of his involvement in the case meant he had to be transferred from California to Texas for the upcoming hearing in Ector County where he committed the crime and it is there that he met an investigator on the case named James Holland. Through daily conversation Holland came to discover that the aging convict had a lot more murders under his belt then first suspected, in fact, over time Samuel Little confessed to a staggering total of 90 murders which he claimed he committed over a span of three decades. He described the murders in great detail including location, method and disposal.
As many online articles have pointed out, some of America's most notorious serial killers have around 30 – 40 confirmed murders to their name, at this stage in the investigation it has been said that Little has been linked to at least 30 unsolved murders and police believe him when he confessed that there is many, many more. To add weight to the 79 year old’s claims some of the unsolved murders that he has taken responsibility for so far do include the same method as used in the string of LA murders he was convicted for just a few years earlier.One of the victims, Julia Critchfield, was strangled to death and thrown off the side of a cliff.
Little’s M.O was to strike his victims, strangle them to death and masturbate on the bodies before disposing of them. With the aid of modern forensic technology any DNA collected from the scenes will help investigators quickly eliminate or confirm if Little really is responsible for the crimes. Police believe there is no reason that elderly inmate would be feeding them misinformation as he has nothing to gain from the situation. Perhaps the time he has spent in prison has forced him to think about the lives he has taken over the years. Maybe Little feels that his old age coupled with his failing health doesn’t leave him much time to confess. Whatever the motivation for his recent confessions, Little has opened to the Holland and the details of his alleged crimes have been since printed in the media in a mass confession to the world.
Little told Holland that he mostly picked up sex workers off the street or intoxicated women coming out of bars at night. He would strike or beat them, strangle them and masturbate on their corpses before ditching their bodies in side streets and less populated outdoor locations.
The majority of the murders he has confessed to so far seem to have transpired in the South. (So far he has admitted to killing women in Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Indiana, Arizona, New Mexico and South Carolina, as well as California and Florida.)
Let’s take a look at a list of both potential and confirmed victims that have been mentioned as part of the investigation so far.
1976: Pamela Kay Smith. Sunset Hills, Missouri. Attempted rape. (Confirmed)
1977: Unknown Victim. Macon, Georgia. Murder.
1978: Julia Critchfield. Harrison County, Mississippi. Murdered.
1978: Evelyn Weston. Richland County, South Carolina. Murder.
1978: Brenda Alexanda. Russell County, Alabama. Murder.
1982: Fredonia Smith. Macon, Georgia. Murder.
1982: Dorothy Richards. Houma, Louisiana. Murder.
1982: Melinda Lapree. Gautier, Mississippi. Murder (Acquitted)
1984: Patricia Mount. Florida. Murder (Acquitted)
1987: 2 victims, Sex workers. San Diego. Assault / beating (Charged and convicted. 2.5 years served)
1987: Carol Alford, Guadalupe Apodaca, Audrey Nelson. LA, California. Murder. (Later convicted. Serving three life sentences.)
1996: Denise Christie Brothers. Ector County, Texas. Murder. (Recently confessed and charged)
1996: Daisy McGuire. Houma, Louisiana. Murder.
1996: Melissa Thomas. Opelousas, Louisiana. Murder.
2005: Nancy Carol Stevens. Tupelo, Mississippi. Murder.
If the confessions are legitimate, this list of murders is just the tip of the iceberg. Many are shocked at how long Little stayed under the radar. He had been arrested for various other crimes throughout the Seventies and Eighties, including assaults, attempted rapes, fraud, stealing (he was caught shoplifting in Lubbock, Texas from a Walmart in 2006) and DUI’s.
Samuel Little grew up in Ohio where his mother left him with his grandma who raised him well into is teens. He was originally born in Renolds, Georgia in the 1940’s but didn’t live there long before the family relocated. His life of crime started early and he was sent off to a juvenile detention center in his teens after getting caught breaking and entering in Nebraska. He didn’t learn from his mistakes and instead went on to commit crime after crime, each becoming more and more serious in nature as time went on. His crimes took place over two decades across multiple different states. He was charged and sentenced for the attempted rape of a Pamela Kay smith in Sunset Hills Missouri in 1976- a crime for which he served only 3 months in prison.
In November of 2018 Little began confessing to his murders.
He confessed to the murder of Brenda Alexander in Alabama in 1979 as well as the murder of Fredonia Smith which had been a cold case for almost three decades.
On the 18th of November 2018 he confessed to the 1978 murder of Julia Critchfield in Mississippi. Two days later he confessed to the murder of Evelyn Weston in South Carolina that same year and we can only imagine that with a possible 90 murders to his name that the confessions will just keep coming.
So is Samuel Little most prolific serial killer in American history? Only time will tell.
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