Samuel Little: How America's most prolific serial killer stayed free for so long despite confessing to 93 murders
The FBI has confirmed that Samuel Little has been branded the most prolific serial killer in US history. Little has confessed to murdering 93 women over a period of almost four decades.
According to the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP), Little has been successfully linked to 50 of the cases. He has been convicted of three murders, two of which he committed in California and the rest in Texas. He is believed to have provided investigators details in more than 90 murders he committed between 1970 and 2005 and was convicted in Los Angeles County in 2014 of the murders of three women — Carol Alford, 41, Audrey Nelson, 35, and Apodaca, 46 — between 1987 and 1989 and was sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole. Many of his victims have never been found.
While Little's crimes are extremely shocking, it is even more baffling as to how Little managed to stay free for such a long time. Oxygen's new documentary 'Catching a Serial Killer: Sam Little' looks at Little's murders and his conviction.
Samuel Little would target drug users and lure them in with the promise of money or drugs before he took their life. It is believed that he would also target sex workers and would take advantage of the fact that law enforcement would often ignore their assault complaints. Other than luring most of his victims to their death, he used to hire his women and others he seduced. He was careful never to use a gun or knife. He prided himself in using his bare hands.
He told investigators he'd choose his victims first. He used to see how his victim's neck looked. 'A woman's got a smooth neck. As a child, I got attracted.." he told officers on November 11, 2018, while being interrogated in Texas.
Lt. Darren Versiga of the Pascagoula Mississippi Police Department shared, "At that time frame, through societal ways, we just didn’t believe prostitutes when they cried rape," LA Times reports.
Once he had chosen his victims, he would knock them out and then strangle them to death. As the victims displayed no physical injuries or the bodies were so decomposed that it was very hard to determine that they had been murdered. The FBI shared, "With no stab marks or bullet wounds, many of these deaths were not classified as homicides but attributed to drug overdoses, accidents or natural cause."
Little was also careful not to pick out victims from high profile areas and made sure to pick victims from places that don't receive much attention or protection. He would pick victims from slums and run-down places which society generally ignored. "Little chose to kill marginalized and vulnerable women who were often involved in prostitution and addicted to drugs. Their bodies sometimes went unidentified and their deaths uninvestigated," the FBI further revealed.
“I’m not gonna go over there in the white neighborhood and pick out a little, young teenage girl,” he would later tell investigators, according to Cleveland Magazine. “I ain’t gonna go over there and pick out a housewife … That’s the kind you get busted for.”
He would call them "grapes" - like objects for consumption, Cleveland Magazine states. "How many grapes y’all got on the vine here?" he would joke.
Documentary host Karas interviewed two of Little's surviving victims and said, "What Sam Little liked to do was really sort of draw out the death of his victims. He had his thumbs, his hands around their necks. He was a big guy, and he would press on their necks, on their larynx and their vocal cords, their windpipe, until they would pass out and then bring them to. And he would ask them to swallow because he got off on the idea of their Adam’s apple going up and down. He prolonged it."
Karas mentioned one of the reasons why capturing Little took the time it had taken. She says his spree had begun at a time when scattered law enforcement agencies were not tapped into the shared national resources they have now. “He jumped around the country, so there was a lot of jurisdictions that he was covering,” she says. “Today, with much more instant communications — we’re all connected — I just can’t believe that someone like a Sam Little would be able to exist for decades the way he did.”
"Little has confessed to 93 murders, and FBI crime analysts believe all of his confessions are credible. Law enforcement has been able to verify 50 confessions, with many more pending final confirmation," the FBI states.
Little had told Federal authorities last year he had committed almost 100 murders in 14 different states between 1970 and 2005. A majority of his victims had been strangled to death.
The FBI asks anyone with information related to Little’s confessions to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit at tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
Where is he now?
Sam Little is serving three life sentences at the California State Prison in Los Angeles and can only be released on parole in 40 years when he would be 119.
'Catching a Serial Killer: Sam Little', premieres at 7 pm ET/PT Sunday, April 12, on Oxygen.