National News Desk

Samuel Little, deemed the nation's 'most prolific serial killer' by the FBI, has died

Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images


(LOS ANGELES) — Samuel Little, the prolific serial killer who was serving three consecutive life sentences, is dead, authorities said Wednesday.

Little died at a hospital shortly before 5 a.m. local time, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. An official cause of death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office. He was 80.

The FBI has deemed Little “the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history.”

He was convicted in 2014 of killing three women in the late 1980s, after being linked to the murders through DNA matched to evidence found at the crime scenes.

Subsequently, Little confessed to strangling 93 victims between 1970 and 2005, according to the FBI. The FBI said investigators believed his confessions were credible and had verified 50 as of October 2019.

One of his suspected victims was just identified in October. Patricia Parker, who was a 30-year-old mother from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was found slain and dumped alongside a Georgia freeway nearly 40 years ago. Authorities said they believe Little killed her.

Little’s life of crime spanned decades, according to a 2018 FBI report. He was first arrested in 1956 and displayed a “dark, violent streak” in his crimes, which included shoplifting, fraud, drug charges, solicitation and breaking and entering, the FBI said.

He spent a term in prison prior to his conviction on murder charges in 2014, serving two years in California state prison from 1985 to 1987 for assault with a deadly weapon and false imprisonment.

In 2012, Little was arrested at a Kentucky homeless shelter and extradited to California on a narcotics charge, the FBI said. That’s when police in Los Angeles matched his DNA to three unsolved murders from the late 1980s.

“In all three cases, the women had been beaten and then strangled, their bodies dumped in an alley, a dumpster, and a garage,” the FBI said in its report.

Despite asserting his innocence, Little was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Since his confession in 2018 to killing 93 women, investigators have been racing to identify as many of his victims as possible and help close the unsolved cases.

While jailed, investigators have interviewed Little and had him draw dozens of pictures of women — almost all women of color — he admitted to killing over nearly 40 years.

“For many years, Samuel Little believed he would not be caught because he thought no one was accounting for his victims,” Christie Palazzolo, a crime analyst with the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, said in a statement when the agency launched its initiative to identify the women. “Even though he is already in prison, the FBI believes it is important to seek justice for each victim — to close every case possible.”

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