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“I just be in the wrong place at the wrong time with people”: Is Samuel Little a Serial Killer?

Little’s name came up, police said, after DNA evidence collected at old crime scenes matched samples of his stored in a criminal database. After detectives say they found yet another match, a third murder charge was soon added against Little.

Now, as the 72-year-old former boxer and transient awaits trial in Los Angeles, authorities in numerous jurisdictions in California, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio are scouring their own cold case files for possible ties to Little. One old murder case, in Pascagoula, Miss., already has been reopened. DNA results are pending in some others. Little’s more than 100-page rap sheet details crimes in 24 states spread over 56 years — mostly assault, burglary, armed robbery, shoplifting and drug violations. In that time, authorities say incredulously, he served less than 10 years in prison.

But Los Angeles detectives allege he was also a serial killer, who traveled the country preying on prostitutes, drug addicts and troubled women.

They assert Little often delivered a knockout punch to women and then proceeded to strangle them while masturbating, dumping the bodies and soon after leaving town. Their investigation has turned up a number of cases in which he was a suspect or convicted. [emphasis added]

How did he “slip through the cracks” with a 100+-page “rap sheet”?:

Then came the 911 call of Sept. 11, 1976, in Sunset Hills, Mo.

Pamela Kay Smith was banging on the back door of a home, crying for help, naked below the waist with her hands bound behind her back with electrical cord and cloth. Smith, who was a drug addict, told officers that she was picked up by Little in St. Louis. She said he choked her from behind with electrical cord, forced her into his car, beat her unconscious, then drove to Sunset Hills and raped her.

Officers found Little, then 36, still seated in his car near the home where Smith sought refuge, with her jewelry and clothing inside. Little denied raping Smith, telling officers: “I only beat her.” The case summary was recalled in court papers filed by prosecutors in Los Angeles. Little was found guilty of assault with the intent to ravish-rape and was sentenced to three months in county jail. Pascagoula Detective Versiga, who reviewed the Smith case, believes Little may have pleaded to a lesser charge and received a shorter sentence because of the victim’s lifestyle. The case file refers to Smith as a heroin addict who often failed to appear in court.

After that, the charges against Little grew more serious. In Pascagoula, [22-year-old prostitute Melinda] LaPree went missing in September 1982 after getting into a wood-paneled station wagon with a man witnesses later identified as Little. A month later her remains were found, and Little was arrested in her killing and the assault of two other prostitutes. Versiga believes grand jurors failed to indict in part because of the difficulty in determining a precise time of death but also because of credibility problems due to the victim and witnesses working as prostitutes.

Little, nevertheless, remained in custody and was extradited to Florida to be tried in the case of another slain woman.

Patricia Ann Mount, 26 and mentally disabled, was found dead in the fall of 1982 in rural Forest Grove, Fla., near Gainesville. Eyewitnesses described last seeing her leaving a beer tavern with a man identified as Little in a wood-paneled station wagon.

According to The Gainesville Sun’s coverage of the trial, a fiber analyst testified that hairs found on Mount’s clothes “had the same characteristics as head hairs taken from” Little. But when cross-examined the analyst said “it was also possible for hairs to be transferred if two people bumped together.”

A jury acquitted Little in January 1984.

By October 1984, Little was back in custody — this time in San Diego, accused in the attempted murder of two prostitutes who were kidnapped a month apart, driven to the same abandoned dirt lot, assaulted and choked. The first woman was left unconscious on a pile of trash but survived, according to court records. Patrol officers discovered Little in a car with the second woman and arrested him.

The two cases were tried jointly, but the jury failed to reach a verdict. Little later pleaded guilty to lesser charges of assault with great bodily injury and false imprisonment. He served about 2.5 years on a four-year sentence and, in February 1987, he was released on parole. [emphasis added]

Because of their “lifestyles,” Little got off lightly and/or completely for years. And what about the women not reported missing? Or assumed to have gone off on a drug binge or just skipped town?

You should not have to be The Madonna to be taken seriously as a crime victim.

Damn!

Cold case arrest prompts cross-country probe. Yahoo! News/Associated Press, 4/8/2013.

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