GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A 78-year-old man sitting in prison in Texas may be among the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history, according to FBI crime analysts.
Authorities said Samuel Little, has confessed to 90 murders to date, and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the country are working to match Little’s confessions with evidence from women who turned up dead in states from California to Florida between 1970 and 2005.
Two of the women who authorities said he claimed to have killed were in the North Central Florida area -- 26-year-old Patricia Mount in Gainesville, Alachua County, in 1982 and 20-year-old Rosie Hill in Ocala, Marion County, that same year.
According to the Marion County Sheriff's Office, a detective traveled in October to the Wise County Jail in Decatur, Texas, where Little was incarcerated. During their interview, Little confessed to killing Rosie Hill and dumping her body, saying he killed her "because God put him on this earth to do it," MCSO said.
On Thursday, News4Jax spoke my phone with her mother, Minnie Hill, who lives in Tennessee. She said she thinks Little is disturbed.
"A person like that, they got to be demon-possessed because he come saying that the Lord freeing him for the kill these people because they, you know, kill all the drug dealers, all the prostitutes," Minnie Hill said.
Little's confession is frustrating to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, which says it charged Little with murder 35 years ago in the death of Mount, who lived in a home in downtown Gainesville, but he was not convicted.
"Unfortunately, since he was tried and acquitted, it would be a double jeopardy situation so we’re unable to bring additional criminal charges for that particular murder," said ACSO Lt. Brett Rhodenizer.
ACSO told News4Jax that Little gave indication to Texas Marshals that he's also responsible for the 1982 killing in Gainesville.
Since Alachua County investigators learned of Little’s confession, they said they are looking into other unsolved murders.
"We are going through his known MO and sharing that information through the Florida Cold Case Advisory Commission," Rhodenizer said.
To compare Little's claim that he killed about 90 over a 35-year span to well known serial killers, Ted Bundy confessed to 30 homicides and Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17.
FBI: Little confessed to 90 killings in effort to move prisons
Samuel Little offered his confessions as a bargaining chip to be moved from a California prison, authorities said.
Little was convicted in 2014 of killing three women in separate attacks in Los Angeles County in the 1980s. A Texas Ranger, James Holland, traveled to California earlier this year to interview Little about the 1994 Odessa killing. That interview resulted in a series of confessions and near-daily discussions "to create the most accurate accounting possible of Little's crimes," according to the FBI statement.
"Little remembers his victims and the killings in great detail," the FBI said. "He remembers where he was, and what car he was driving. He draws pictures of many of the women he killed. He is less reliable, however, when it comes to remembering dates."
Little targeted vulnerable women who were often involved in prostitution and addicted to drugs, authorities said. Once a competitive boxer, he usually stunned or knocked out his victims with powerful punches before he strangled them.
"With no stab marks or bullet wounds, many of these deaths were not classified as homicides but attributed to drug overdoses, accidents, or natural causes," the FBI said.
Based on information Little has provided, authorities in several states have already confirmed his ties to 34 killings that happened between 1970 and 2005, not including the three he was convicted of in California. Investigators in Mississippi and South Carolina recently announced that they had closed cold cases based on Little's information. And police in Maryland and other states are looking into whether it can help them solve their own unsolved killings, including the 1973 strangulation in Omaha, Nebraska, of Agatha White Buffalo, whose body was found upside-down in a 55-gallon drum.
"He went through city and state and gave Ranger Holland the number of people he killed in each place," said Christina Palazzolo, an FBI crime analyst who collaborated with Holland. "Jackson, Mississippi -- one; Cincinnati, Ohio -- one; Phoenix, Arizona -- three; Las Vegas, Nevada -- one."