By a Biometrica staffer
The man authorities say was the most prolific serial killer in US history with nearly 60 confirmed victims died on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.
Samuel Little was 80, and had diabetes, heart trouble and other ailments. He died at a California hospital, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Little was serving a life sentence for multiple counts of murder.
A career criminal who had been in and out jail for decades, he denied he’d ever killed anyone for years. Then, in 2018, he opened up to Texas Ranger James Holland, who had been asked to question him about a killing it turned out Little didn’t commit. During roughly 700 hours of interviews, however, Little provided details of scores of slayings only the killer would know.
He even provided Holland with dozens of paintings and drawings of his victims, sometimes scribbling their names when he could remember them, as well as details such as the year and location of the murder and where he’d dumped the body.
California corrections department spokeswoman Vicky Waters said there was no sign of foul play in Little’s death, and the cause will be determined by a coroner.
By the time of his death, Little had confessed to killing 93 people between 1970 and 2005. The numbers dwarf those of Green River killer Gary Ridgeway (49), John Gacy (33) and Ted Bundy (36).
Most of the slayings took place in Florida and Southern California. Authorities, who continue to investigate his claims, said they have confirmed nearly 60 killings and have no reason to doubt the others.
“Nothing he’s ever said has been proven to be wrong or false,” Holland told the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” in 2019.
Almost all of Little’s victims were women, many of them prostitutes, drug addicts or poor people living on the edges of society. They were individuals, he said he believed, who would leave few people behind to look for them and not much evidence for police to follow.
Indeed, local authorities in states across the country initially classified many of the deaths as accidents, drug overdoses or the result of unknown causes.
Little strangled most of his victims, usually soon after meeting them during chance encounters.
His last killing was in 2005, he said, in Tupelo, Mississippi. He also killed people in Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, Nevada, Arkansas and other states. Kentucky authorities finally caught up with him in 2012 after he was arrested on drug charges and his DNA linked him to three California killings.
When he began recounting the other slayings, authorities were astounded at how much he remembered. His paintings, they said, indicated he had a photographic memory.