Most prolific US serial killer dies in California hospital

Samuel Little (80) confessed to 93 murders across the country by strangulation between 1970 and 2005

An undated file photograph of  serial killer Samuel Little. Photograph: Ector County Sheriff’s Office/AFP via Getty Images

An undated file photograph of serial killer Samuel Little. Photograph: Ector County Sheriff’s Office/AFP via Getty Images

 

A convicted murderer considered by the FBI to be the most prolific serial killer in US history died on Wednesday at a California hospital, the state corrections department said.

Samuel Little (80), who confessed to strangling 93 people, had been serving three consecutive sentences of life without parole for the killing of three women in Los Angeles County during the late 1980s. He was linked to the murders through DNA that matched samples found at the crime scenes.

Little was convicted of first-degree murder by a Los Angeles County jury on September 25th, 2014, and began serving his prison sentence about two months later.

According to the FBI, Little began confessing to additional murders to a Texas Ranger who interviewed him in his California prison cell in 2018, and ultimately admitted to killing 93 people across the country by strangulation between 1970 and 2005.

The FBI said investigators have verified 50 of those confessions, with many more pending final confirmation, making him the deadliest US serial killer on record.

Authorities said he appeared to have targeted mostly vulnerable young black women, many of them prostitutes or drug addicts, whose deaths were not well-publicised at the time and in some cases not recorded as homicides.

Many of his victims’ deaths were originally ruled overdoses or attributed to accidental or undetermined causes, and some bodies were never recovered, according to an FBI profile of the killer.

Little served two prior sentences in a California state prison, including a four-year term ending in 1987 for assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment, and stint of about 14 months ending in April 2014.

FBI videotapes made of his jailhouse confessions showed Little, sitting in front of a cinder-block wall in blue prison scrubs and gray knit cap, sometimes appearing bemused or smiling as he recounted the circumstances of the killings.

He had been incarcerated at a state prison in Lancaster, California, north of Los Angeles, but died early Wednesday morning at an outside hospital, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement.

The agency said an official cause of death would be determined by the county medical examiner’s office. – Reuters