The question isn’t whether 78-year-old Middle Georgia native Samuel Little is a killer — it’s how prolific a killer he is.
Already serving life for strangling three California women, the old unknown boxer and drifter has lately been making confessions, so far claiming he’s killed more than 90 people across the country over four decades. Included among them are three from Georgia: Two women in Bibb County and a Columbus woman found just over the Alabama border.
Authorities are trying to vet his statements, while scouring files to see if he could be connected to more cold cases. Little is from tiny Taylor County, west of Macon.
In the Macon area, Little claims he killed 18-year-old Fredonia Smith, whose parents told The Telegraph newspaper she’d gone out for ice cream and never returned on July, 10 1982. Her remains were found a month later in someone’s backyard, according to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. Little also said he killed a woman whose skeletal remains were discovered on the edge of some woods near Riverside Drive on Sept. 8, 1977. Her identity is still a mystery, though the Georgia Bureau of Investigation last year had an artist make a bust of what her face might’ve looked like.
Two Bibb investigators travelled to interview Little in a Texas jail, where he’s held in connection to yet another homicide.
“Little gave investigators specific details and information, which linked him to both ‘cold case’ homicides, where Little admitted to strangling both women,” Sheriff David Davis said in a news release. The sheriff’s office didn’t release the specifics tying Little to the cases, other than the fact that Little mentioned a dirt road that investigators then located and found important to one of the deaths. A spokeswoman for the county district attorney’s office said she couldn’t comment because the cases were still under review.
The 18-year-old victim’s brother had harsh words for the man who claims to have killed his sister: “(I’d) put my hands around his neck and squeeze his neck and let him see how it feels, how he did all these women,” Eddie Smith said, according to Channel 2 Action News.
Columbus resident Brenda Alexander’s body turned up off a dirt road in Phenix City, Ala. on Aug. 27, 1979, nude but for her Timex calendar watch with a leather band, according to the Ledger-Enquirer. Detectives with the Alabama city’s police department also interviewed Little in the Texas jail, where he told them he strangled the 23-year-old after meeting her at a dance club in Columbus.
“I don’t believe he was making any of this stuff up. I think he’s just telling a story like he remembers it,” Capt. Jason Whitten of Phenix City police told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He gave some details of the crime that no one else would know.”
Whitten declined to release those details, because he’s still in the process of verifying Little’s statements and preparing a file to present to the local district attorney’s office for consideration. But the investigator said he’s confident the confession can bring resolution to the long-cold case and comfort to the victim’s family.
“They deserve some closure after all these years,” he said. “That’s what it should be about, not the sensational story of this serial killer.”
In other news:
But Whitten knows how sensational the story is, especially considering that Little isn’t like some notorious serial killers who go for decades, even their entire lives, avoiding police and prosecutors. Little has been arrested dozens of times and twice stood trial for violent crimes, including one homicide.
In January 1984, he was acquitted in the death of a 26-year-old mentally disabled woman found dead in fall of 1982 near Gainesville, Fla. A fiber analyst testified at the trial that hairs found on Patricia Ann Mount’s clothes “had the same characteristics as head hairs taken from” Little, who witnesses said had been seen leaving a bar with her, according to the Gainesville Sun. But when cross-examined, the analyst said “it was also possible for hairs to be transferred if two people bumped together.”
By October 1984, Little was arrested in San Diego, accused in the attempted murder of two prostitutes who had been kidnapped a month apart, driven to the same abandoned dirt lot, assaulted and choked, the Associated Press reported. Little was later found with one of the women, but the jury failed to reach a verdict, and Little later pleaded guilty to lesser charges of assault with great bodily injury and false imprisonment.
He served about 2-and-a-half years of a four-year sentence and was paroled in 1987. According to him, he just kept killing.
He has now confessed to homicides from 1970 to 2005 in Georgia, Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, California, Indiana, Arizona, New Mexico and South Carolina, according to NBC News.
Little has been in the custody of various authorities since 2012, when he was picked up at a homeless shelter in Kentucky, the AP reported. He had been wanted for a small charge out of Louisiana: possession of a crack pipe. But DNA also connected him to three women strangled in the Los Angeles area in the late 1980s, and he was later convicted and sentenced to life.
The confessions started to flow in recent months after Texas Rangers and FBI agents began meeting with Little.
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