LOS ANGELES — When Los Angeles cold-case detectives caught up with Samuel Little last fall, he was living in a Christian shelter in Kentucky, his latest arrest a few months earlier for alleged possession of a crack pipe.
But the investigators wanted him on far more serious charges: the slayings of two women in 1989, both found strangled and nude below the waist, victims of what police concluded had been sexually motivated strangulations.
Little’s name came up, police said, after DNA evidence collected at old crime scenes matched samples of his that were stored in a criminal database. After detectives say they found yet another match, a third murder charge was added against Little.
Now, as the 72-year-old former boxer and transient awaits trial in Los Angeles, authorities in 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 6, Miss., already has been reopened. DNA results are pending in others.
Little’s rap sheet, more than 100 pages long, details crimes in 24 states spread over 56 years — mostly assault, burglary, armed robbery, shoplifting and drug violations. In that time, authorities say, 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.