Samuel Little, who suffered from diabetes, heart problems and other ailments, died in a California hospital. He was serving a life sentence for several counts of murder.
California Corrections Department spokeswoman Vicky Waters said there was no sign of foul play and her cause of death would be determined by a coroner.
A career criminal who had been in jail for decades, Little denied for years that he had ever killed anyone.
Then, in 2018, he opened up to Texas Ranger James Holland, who was asked to question him about a murder that Little turned out to have not committed. Over the course of around 700 hours of interviews, however, Little provided details of the dozens of murders that only the killer could know about.
A talented artist, he even provided Holland with dozens of paintings and drawings of his victims, sometimes scribbling their names when he could remember them, along with details such as the year and location of the murder and where he was killed. had thrown the body away.
At the time of his death, Little had confessed to killing 93 people between 1970 and 2005. Most of the murders took place in Florida and Southern California.
Authorities, who continue to investigate his allegations, said they have confirmed nearly 60 murders and have no reason to doubt the others.
Nothing he said turned out to be wrong or wrong, ”Holland told CBS news magazine“ 60 Minutes ”in 2019.
The numbers eclipse those of Green River killer Gary Ridgeway (49), John Gacy (33) and Ted Bundy (36).
Almost all of Little’s victims were women, many of whom were prostitutes, drug addicts, or the poor living on the fringes of society. These were individuals who he said would leave few people behind to look for them and little evidence for the police to follow.
Indeed, local authorities in states across the country initially classified a large number of deaths as accidents, drug overdoses, or the result of unknown causes.
Little strangled most of his victims, usually shortly after meeting them in chance encounters. He drowned one, a woman he met in a nightclub in 1982.
He was almost 80 years old, in poor health and serving a life sentence in a California prison when he started confiding in the Netherlands in May 2018, after years of refusing to speak to others authorities. Once a strong and bloody boxer who used his powerful hands to strangle his victims, he now used a wheelchair to get around.
Holland described Little as both a genius and a sociopath, adding that the killer could never adequately explain to him why he did what he did. Although known as an expert interrogator, Holland himself said he could only guess why Little opened up to him.
The Ranger worked tirelessly to bond and bond with the killer during their hundreds of hours of interviews, bringing him favorite snacks such as pizza, Dr Pepper, and oatmeal and discussing their mutual interest in it. sport. He also gave Little assurance that he would not be executed.
Holland referred to Little by his childhood nickname, Sammy, while Little called Holland Jimmy and once told the Los Angeles Times that he had “found a friend in a ranger in Texas.”
He told “60 Minutes” that he hoped his confession could exonerate anyone wrongly convicted of his crimes.
“I’m saying if I can help somebody get out of jail, you know, then God might smile a little bit more on me,” he said.
A passenger who traveled across the country while not in jail for theft, assault, drugs or other crimes, Little said he started killing in Miami on New Years Eve 1970.
“It was like drugs,” he told Holland. “I came to love him. ”
His last murder was in 2005, he said, in Tupelo, Mississippi. He has also killed people in Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, Nevada, Arkansas, and other states.
Kentucky authorities finally caught up with him in 2012 after his arrest for drug trafficking, and his DNA has linked him to three murders in California.
When he started recounting the other murders, authorities were amazed at how much he remembered. His paintings, they said, indicated that he had a photographic memory.
A murder was solved after Little recalled the victim was wearing dentures. Another after telling Holland he killed the victim near an unusual-looking set of arches in Florida. A victim he met outside a Miami strip club in 1984 is remembered as 25 years old with short blonde hair, blue eyes and a “hippie look”.
As he continued to speak, authorities across the country rushed to investigate old cases, locate relatives and terminate families.
Little has revealed few details about his own life other than the fact that he was raised in Lorain, Ohio by his grandmother. Authorities said his name was often Samuel McDowell.
He married once, Little said, and involved in two long-term relationships.
He claimed to have developed a female neck fetish after he was sexually aroused when he saw his kindergarten teacher touch his neck. He was always careful, he added, to avoid staring at the necks of his wife or girlfriends and never to hurt anyone he loved.
“I don’t think there was another person who did what I loved to do,” he said “60 Minutes”. “I think I’m the only one in the world. And it’s not an honor, it’s a curse. ”