More than 60 deaths now linked to serial killer

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FILE – In this Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 file photo, Samuel Little, who often went by the name Samuel McDowell, leaves the Ector County Courthouse after attending a pre-trial hearing in Odessa, Texas. A Texas prosecutor says investigators have linked more than 60 killings in at least 14 states to a 79-year-old inmate who may […]

DALLAS (AP) — California inmate Samuel Little, 79, has been linked to more than 60 killings in at least 14 states. He may be the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history.

Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland said Samuel Little continues to cooperate with investigators from around the country who continue to interrogate him in prison about cold cases dating back to the 1970s. 

Little pleaded guilty to killing a Texas woman and was convicted of killing three women in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently serving a life sentence in California. Little, who lived a nomadic lifestyle, claims to have killed 93 women as he crisscrossed the country over the years.

Little is in failing health and has exhausted his appeals, leading him to be forthcoming with investigators. “At this point in his life I think he is determined to make sure that his victims are found,” Bland said.

Little stood trial in 2014 in Los Angeles where prosecutors said he was likely responsible for at least 40 killings since 1980. Authorities at the time were looking for possible links to deaths in the states of Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Texas.

During the trial Little was not forthcoming with information and Bland credits Texas Ranger James Holland with gaining Little’s trust and eventually eliciting a series of confessions.

Holland traveled to California to meet with Little last year so that they could discuss the cold cases in Texas. This discussion between them led Little to be extradited to Texas where he pleaded guilty in December to the 1994 strangulation death of Denise Christie Brothers in the West Texas city of Odessa. However, Holland’s conversations with Little have continued for months, even after Little was returned to California for incarceration, said Bland.

The information Little had been providing to Holland has been relayed to investigating agencies in several states, leading to a revolving door of investigators traveling to California to corroborate decades-old deaths. It was Holland who determined that Little was responsible for 93 deaths, Bland said.

Little’s victims were often suffocated or strangled. In many cases leaving few physical marks and leading investigators to determine the women died of overdoses or of natural causes.

“There has still been no false information given,” Bland said. “Nothing has been proven to be false.”

Gary Ridgway, the so-called Green River Killer, pleaded guilty to killing 49 women and girls, making him the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history in terms of confirmed kills, though he said he killed 71.

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