Serial Killer Sam Little Only Murdered Victims Who Wouldn’t Be ‘Missed’

 “They didn’t know who the hell was doing it,” Sam Little told investigators. 

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What Was Serial Killer Sam Little's MO?
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What Was Serial Killer Sam Little's MO?

A sex worker named Leila told police she was attacked by a man who would later be identified as serial killer Samuel Little. Leila met Little at a bar, and the two left together. Once in his car, Little began attacking and strangling her. She said she was "fighting for her life."

For almost 40 years, serial killer Samuel Little terrorized women throughout the United States, abducting and strangling them to death before dumping their bodies in remote locations.  

It was not until 2012, when a DNA hit linked Little to multiple unsolved homicides in Los Angeles, California, that he was finally put behind bars for good.  

While Little was ultimately given three life sentences for the late 1980s killings of Audrey Nelson, Guadalupe Apodaca, and Carol Alford, local police departments across the country were convinced Little had committed more murders. 

In 2018, detectives from the Texas Ranger Division reached out to Little with a deal. If he confessed to one of their cold cases, they would take the death penalty off the table and relocate him to a county jail in Texas. 

Little agreed, and in his 650 hours' worth of confessions with law enforcement, Little admitted to 93 murders, including the killings of Melinda Rose LaPree, Mary Jo Peyton, and Melissa Thomas, whose cases are all profiled in “Catching A Serial Killer: Sam Little,” streaming now on Oxygen

During one interview session, Little bragged about how he killed undetected for decades.  

“They didn’t know who the hell was doing it. I would go back to the same city sometimes, pluck me another grape,” he laughed as he told investigators. “How many grapes have y’all got on the vine here?” 

Little also revealed how he profiled his victims, who were often vulnerable young women living on the fringes of society as sex workers and drug users. 

“I didn’t go f--king around out there with the people that would be immediately missed and very important to either family or business or somebody. I’m not going over there in a white neighborhood and pick out a little young teenage girl, like the weirdies do,” Little said. 

Although he didn’t know many of his victims’ names, Little asked the Rangers for art supplies so he could draw portraits of the women he killed in hopes of identifying them. The FBI continues to ask for public assistance in matching the remaining unconfirmed victims. 

“It’s not just faces. He remembers little things about each victim. One had a limp. Another had a teenage daughter … He can picture the crime scenes and his victims in photographic detail,” former prosecutor and investigative journalist Beth Karas told “Catching A Serial Killer.” 

Sam Little Fbi 1

In another conversation with law enforcement, Little described how his obsession with strangulation began in childhood. 

“As a child, I got attracted to the neck,” Little said, adding that he became sexually aroused by looking at women’s necks and later choked women during intercourse. 

Before his first killing — the New Year’s Eve 1970 murder of Mary Brosley in North Miami Beach, Florida — Little said he “knew” he was going to choke her and that he had a “strong desire to f--k her and kill her.” 

“One of the things we wanted to ask him, and we did, was whether or not when he’s engaged in the act of killing if it was about the sex or if it was about the killing. And he said both,” Rick Bell, chief of special investigations with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, told “Catching A Serial Killer.” “So, in his mind, they’re intertwined. He wanted to kill, and he wanted to kill again.” 

Since his confessions, Little has gone on to plead guilty to murdering five women in Texas and Ohio, resulting in additional life sentences, reported Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer newspaper. 

To hear more from investigators, watch “Catching A Serial Killer: Sam Little" now on Oxygen

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