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The Worst Serial Killer in American History: Samuel Little

Readmikenow enjoys writing about unique and interesting people. He likes to learn about individuals who live or have lived unusual lives.

Samuel Little

Samuel Little

Samuel Little has the title of being the most prolific serial killer in the history of the United States. He confessed to killing 93 people. Most of his victims were women. In 2012, Little was convicted of murdering three women. In 2018, he was convicted of killing another woman. He then started to confess to his murders. The FBI gathered evidence that proved Little was involved in approximately 60 of the 93 individuals he admitted to murdering. This is the largest number of deaths attributed to any serial killer in American history.

Early Years

On June 7, 1940, Samuel Little was born in Reynolds, Georgia. He claimed his mother was a prostitute at the time. Soon after he was born, Little's family relocated to Lorain, Ohio. During this time, he was being raised by his grandmother. Little was a student at Hawthorne Junior High School. As a student, he had problems achieving anything and struggled with discipline. Little told investigators that during this time in his life is when he started to have sexual fantasies that involved strangling women. Little's fantasies started when he was a child. As he grew up, Little collected true crime magazines. He preferred the ones that showed women being choked.

Criminal Behavior

Little was convicted of breaking and entering in 1956. This occurred at a property located in Omaha, Nebraska. Little was 16 years old. He was sent to an institution for juvenile offenders. In the late 1960s, Little went to Florida to live with his mother. He held various jobs from ambulance attendant to cemetery worker, and more. According to Little, he started traveling more and continued to have run-ins with law enforcement. He was arrested in eight different states. His crimes included aggravated assault, driving under the influence, armed robbery, fraud, solicitation, shoplifting, attacks on government officials as well as rape. By the time he reached the age of 35, Little had been arrested more than 25 times in 11 states.

Mugshot of Samuel Little

Mugshot of Samuel Little

Murder Acquittal

It was 1982 in Pascagoula, Mississippi when Little was charged for the first time with murder. It was for the murder of Melinda Rose LáPree who was 22 years old. She had gone missing in September. A grand jury did not indict Little. After the decision by the grand jury, he was taken to Florida and tried for another woman's murder. The victim, in this case, was Patricia Ann Mount. She was 26 years old. Her body was discovered in September 1982. Witnesses identified Little during his trial. There was a high level of mistrust for witness testimonies. This resulted in Little being acquitted of the murder charges in 1984.


After his acquittal, Little relocated to California and lived near San Diego. Months later, he was arrested for beating, kidnapping as well as strangling a woman named Laurie Barros. She was a 22-year-old female who survived the attack. A month after this attack, law enforcement discovered Little in the back of a vehicle with a woman who was unconscious and had been beaten as well as strangled. This was near the area where Laurie Barros had been attacked. Little was convicted of both crimes. He was incarcerated for two and a half years after being found guilty of both crimes. Little admitted that after he got out of prison, he relocated to Los Angeles, California, and committed an additional 10 murders.

Samuel Little during his trial

Samuel Little during his trial

Additional Murders

Little was arrested in September 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was living in a homeless shelter. Little then was sent to California to face a narcotics charge. During the investigation, his DNA was used by officials to see if it matched any DNA found at crime scenes. The results established he had been involved with the murder of three women. They were killed and left on the streets of Los Angeles. Within a few months after these charges, Little was investigated for his possible involvement in over 30 different murders committed during the 1980s. Little was eventually tested for possible involvement in approximately 93 murders of women.

Samuel Little speaking with investigator

Samuel Little speaking with investigator

Trial And Jail

Little was once again put on trial for murder in September 2014. DNA evidence, as well as witness testimony, were provided by the prosecution. These were witnesses who had been attacked by Little. He was found guilty on September 25, 2014. Little was given a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Prior to this conviction, Little was in prison for ten years for various offenses. He also avoided two murder charges before his conviction in 2014.

Map of murders committed by Samuel Little

Map of murders committed by Samuel Little


Little decided to start confessing his murders. He did this in exchange for being transferred out of the Los Angeles County prison. In November 2018, the FBI announced it was able to confirm 34 of the murders Little had confessed to performing. The FBI's Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VCAP) spent a lot of time and effort on the rest of the murder confessions by Little. They proved his involvement in known murders as well as suspicious deaths. Little drew images of women he had killed. He made 16 portraits of his victims.

Drawings done by Samuel Little of his murder victims

Drawings done by Samuel Little of his murder victims


It is believed the reason Little's murder spree lasted so long and took so many victims is that he chose female victims who were on the fringes of society. They were usually drug addicts, sex workers, homeless, and more. Little told investigators he never killed a governor or senator. He never attacked a fancy New York journalist. He told people he chose to stay in the ghetto.


On December 30, 2020, Samuel Little died. He was in a Los Angeles County area hospital. According to the CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, there was no final determination as to what specifically caused Little's death. It is known that Little suffered from heart problems, diabetes as well as other types of health conditions.

Most of his victims continue to be unidentified. It is common for their deaths to have been listed as a drug overdose, accidental, or natural causes. His method of murder started by punching his victims so hard they would become unconscious. Little would then strangle them to death. His method of killing involved no stab wounds or bullets. This caused law enforcement to struggle with identifying the women he killed as victims of murder.





CBS News

© 2021 Readmikenow


Readmikenow (author) on September 28, 2021:

Peggy, thanks. It was a horrible life.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 28, 2021:

I remember hearing about his confessions at the time. What a horrible life he led!

Readmikenow (author) on September 28, 2021:

Miebakagh, thanks. I agree with you.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on September 28, 2021:

I pity him because his birth was awful and shameful.

Readmikenow (author) on September 28, 2021:

Femi, I agree.

Readmikenow (author) on September 28, 2021:

Pam, I agree with you. He did enough damage during his time in this world.

Readmikenow (author) on September 28, 2021:

Fran, thanks.

femi from Nigeria on September 28, 2021:

The legal system failed the first time he was arraigned for murder, this led to more killings by the depraved psychopath. He confessed because he knew he was not going to the chair, miscarriage of justice.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 28, 2021:

It is amazing that this man got away with killing so many people, Mike. This is an interesting article. I think the world is a better place now that he is gone.

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on September 28, 2021:

Mike, your article brought back memories of reading about him. I can understand how he got away with his crimes for so long. Probably because they were victims no one seemed to care about and that is so sad. Glad his crimes are over. Thanks for sharing.

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