The Case of Samuel Little

Until a few days ago, Gary Ridgway, also known as the Green River Killer was considered America’s most prolific serial killer.  In 2001, he plead guilty to 48 counts of first degree murder.  Those were the cases that could be proven.  He was suspected of 71 murders.  Earning the dubious recognition of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer… Until the case against Samuel Little was released to the public by the FBI and Texas Rangers.

Little is 78 years old, brought into this world in 1940.  In 2010, he was arrested in a homeless shelter in Kentucky and extradited to California for drug trafficking charges.  California is one of the states involved in something called Mandatory DNA Submission.  Every inmate in the California penal system has their DNA swabbed for comparison with open cases in California.

In many instances, the DNA is also sent to ViCAP, the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program.  Samuel Little’s was, after it was found to match unidentified DNA associated with the murder of three women in California.

That right there, makes him a serial killer.  As he stood trial for those three murders, his DNA was sent to ViCAP and found to match a murder case out of Odessa, Texas.  The State of Texas sent someone to interview Little and Little began to confess.  It would be his confession that would send him vying for Ridgway’s infamous epitaph.  As it stands right now, he’s confessed to 90 murders.  More amazingly, he remembers dates, names, descriptions, and details from each town he committed a murder in.

Now, once before, we’ve seen the work of a prolific confessor in Henry Lee Lucas who confessed to more than 200 murders.  The difference is Lucas didn’t remember “details” about the crimes and in many instances, law enforcement was able to prove he was in another location at the time.

That may not be the case with Samuel Little’s confessions.  Law enforcement, duped once by Henry Lee Lucas, has been careful about investigating Little’s confessions.  The FBI is working diligently with local law enforcement agencies across the country to verify details from Little’s confessions to open cases.  Details that may indeed make him the most prolific serial killer in the US.

According to a press release from the FBI dated 11/28/2018, they have found enough evidence at this point, to believe that Little is indeed telling the truth.  For the record, Little has even served time for violent assault in Missouri and stood trial for murder in Florida.  And he was convicted of the three murders in Los Angeles, California.  

Little is the most dreaded type of serial killer to law enforcement.  He’s traveled extensively throughout the US.  Even ViCAP has difficulty connecting murders across state lines.  And Little doesn’t appear to have a signature.

He’s a sadist with violent sexual fantasies and his myriad of crimes aren’t limited to murder, he’s also committed crimes of rape, assault and battery, and attempted murder.  Most of his murders involved physical beatings followed by strangulation.  But not all of them…

Profilers as well as ViCAP works better when a serial killer sticks to an MO, Little didn’t.  And he didn’t “sign” his kills like the Boston Strangler did.  This means Little didn’t only beat and strangle his victims, he has confessed to using other methods to kill.  And he didn’t cut off the pinky finger of every victim to take as a trophy or their driver’s license.  

Furthermore, Little didn’t just kill prostitutes like Gary Ridgway.  Little was more opportunistic, taking both high risk victims like prostitutes and low risk victims like soccer moms.  

All of this means that Little will be studied for a long time by serial killer hunters, because of how much he deviated from what “serial killers are supposed to do”…

It’s really quite scary when you think about it…

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