Samuel Little was born on June 7, 1940 in Reynolds, Georgia. As an adult, he described his mother as a “prostitute.” He was raised by his grandmother in Ohio. When Samuel was 16, he was arrested for breaking and entering and went to juvenile detention.
After his release, Samuel moved to Florida and lived with his mother. He worked in a cemetery and was an ambulance attendant. He frequently broke the law and was arrested in eight states before being sent to prison in 1961 in Ohio.
Upon his release in 1964, he continued his life of crime and was arrested 26 more times by 1975, He was charged with murder in 1982 in Mississippi. Before he could be sentenced, he was extradited to Florida to be tried for a murder there. He was acquitted in 1984 and released.
He was arrested in October 1984 in California for kidnapping and strangling a 22 year old woman. He was found one month later in the backseat of a car with another beaten and strangled woman. He served less than 3 years for both crimes. In 1987, he was released and moved to Los Angeles. He killed at least 10 people there.
In 2012, he was arrested in Kentucky and sent to California on drug charges. DNA linked him to 3 murders in the late 1980s. The bodies had been discovered in Los Angeles. Police announced that Samuel was linked to many more murders. It is now believed that he committed close to 100 murders, making him the most prolific serial killer in United States history.
He was tried in 2014 for the 3 bodies found in LA. He was found guilty and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. In 2018, he was charged with a murder in Odessa, Texas that took place in 1994. He confessed to the the crime and received a second life sentence.
That same year, the FBI announced that they had positively linked Samuel to 34 murders, all of which he had confessed to. They are working to to confirm his other confessions.
The confessions were made by Samuel in hopes to be transferred out of the Los Angeles prison where he is currently being held. So far, the FBI has stated that Samuel seems to be tellling the truth and has an almost photographic memory, but sometimes gets confused, due to his age and failing health.
He has been indicted for 5 other murders in Kentucky and Ohio. He draws pictures of his victims in chalk for FBI agents. These portraits have been released to the public in an effort to identify his unknown victims. It is a race against time to identify as many victims of Samuel as they can before he dies. He is currently confined to a wheelchair and suffers from a heart condition and diabetes.
The following is a small sample of the murders that Samuel has confessed to. Please visit https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/samuel-little-most-prolific-serial-killer-in-us-history-100619 for a more exhaustive list and Samuel’s drawings.
Samuel encountered an African American trans woman in her late teens in the early 1970s. He believed her name to be MaryAnn. She was approximately 5’6” and weighed around 140 pounds. They met at a bar in Miami, Florida. He killed her off of Highway 27 and drug her body into a swamp. The body was never found.
In Little Rock, Arkansas, Samuel met an African American female in the early 1990s named Ruth. It was wintertime and the woman was approximately 24 years old and 5’6”. She weighted around 200 pounds. The couple shoplifted and sold the merchandise. When Samuel was arrested for theft from a Kroger grocery store, the woman stayed in his car until he was released. Upon their reunion, Samuel strangled the woman and placed her body in a corn field.
In the summer of 1984, Samuel met a woman while driving through Ohio. The woman was 25 and had been outside of a strip club when she met Samuel. She was 5’6” and approximately 150 pounds. She had blue eyes and blonde hair that was cut short. Samuel described her as a “hippie.” She asked for a ride to Miami to see her mother. Somewhere along I-75 entering Kentucky, Samuel strangled the woman and abandoned her body on a hill.
On his way to Los Angeles in 1993, Samuel met an African American woman in Las Vegas. She was 40 years old and 5’5” tall. She weighed approximately 115 pounds. She was wearing a wig and he drew this in her portrait. He believed that she had naturally short hair. Samuel strangled the woman in a hotel room before putting her in the trunk of his car and driving her out of town. He threw her out of the car and the body was never found.
In the fall of 1982, Samuel met an African American woman in New Orleans. She was approximately 35 years old and weighed around 160 pounds. She was 5’8” with “honey-colored skin” and straight hair. The two met in a bar and then left together.. He killed the woman in a canal off I-10 and left her body there.
All of Samuel’s unsolved murders are considered active cases and the FBI is actively seeking information that would help them identify the victims.
A video summary of this week’s post can be found at