‘He knew what he was doing and he was good at it’: Serial killer expected to plead guilty to Cincinnati murders
CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19/Cincinnati Enquirer) - A man described as the ‘most prolific serial killer in America’ by Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is expected to plead guilty to the murders of two Cincinnati women.
Spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office Julie Wilson said Samuel Little, 78, confessed to killing the women in May, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Deters announced Little’s indictment on two counts of murder Friday.
“We expect that in early August that we will be taking a plea to these two murders by Skype in California and obviously we expect him to plead guilty,” Deters said. “The only thing he requested is that we didn’t seek the death penalty.”
Little, who was also known as Samuel McDowell turned 79 Friday, the day he was indicted.
He killed women by strangulation.
“That was the way he enjoyed his pleasure was to strangle these girls,” Deters said. “He specifically looked for girls with a certain neck type that he liked and that’s why he did it.”
Little’s first Cincinnati victim, Anna Stewart, was found in Grove City in October 1981, Deters said.
At the time Stewart was killed, Ohio did not have the death penalty.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien also joined the press conference to discuss the case because Stewart was found just outside of Columbus.
O’Brien said Stewart was killed in Cincinnati, but because it was raining, Little put her in his trunk and drove her to Grove City where he dumped her body.
Little’s second Cincinnati victim is an unidentified woman police are referring to as Jane Doe.
“As to the Jane Doe, we just don’t know when it occurred. We’ve got interns down at the coroner’s office going through files trying to see if they can locate potential victims of him that can match the description of the murder and right now we just don’t know who it is,” Deters said.
While incarcerated, Little created drawings of his victims from memory, but he told police he didn’t have a pencil dark enough to draw Jane Doe’s skin color.
Deters said he wasn’t sure why Little would draw his victims and described him as he said he would describe all serial killers: “They’re not insane. They’re nothing but evil, period.”
He described her to police as being slender with very dark skin and having very short hair. He also said she wore a wig and glasses and lived in Over-the-Rhine in a street-level apartment with a ‘heavy Hispanic woman’ and that apartment also opened to a staircase on the second floor.
Little told Cincinnati Police Department Homicide Detective Kelly Best and Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier that strangling the women was a sexual desire.
“To him, strangulation was sex. He said ‘how can you tell a man not to have intercourse with a woman? Well that’s like telling me not to strangle women.’ That’s how bizarre this person is,” Piepmeier said.
Piepmeier said during their interview with Little that he was friendly and forthcoming and tried to identify Jane Doe, but could not.
“He was friendly, conversational, very open to discussion with us,” Best said. “He was very helpful. He saw it as telling a normal man that normal sexual intercourse was a crime and when he got the urge, that’s when he would seek out a woman and commit his crimes.”
With the help of DNA evidence, Los Angeles police charged Little with three counts of murder from crimes in the late '80s. He was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, according to the FBI.
Little was arrested at a Louisville homeless shelter in 2012, then extradited to California.
Little has confessed to killing 90 women. His killings span the country, with incidents in 16 states.
The FBI confirmed 34 of the confessions, with many others remaining uncorroborated.
"Many of these deaths were not classified as homicides but attributed to drug overdoses, accidents, or natural causes," the FBI said.
Piepmeier said Little looked specifically for women who people would not immediately look for when choosing his victims.
“He said he looked for women who would not be missed,” Piepmeier said. “He looked for street people, prostitutes, figuring that it’s not a young mom with kids, it’s not somebody that’s leaving work, it’s somebody that’s walking the streets because he figured he could do it, he could dump them, and no one would miss them for days. He knew what he was doing and he was very good at it.”
Little was born in Lorain, Ohio. A high school dropout, he left his home in the 1950s and lived a nomadic lifestyle, terrorizing women, the FBI said.
Piepmeier said he would have blended in if you were to see him in public.
“He could blend in in the streets because as we’re sitting with him, he comes across as very normal,” Piepmeier said.
Little is expected to plead guilty via a video arraignment from California in early August. Deters said both he and O’Brien plan to travel to California for the court date.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the identity of Jane Doe to contact either the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office or Cincinnati police.
- Kelly Best, homicide detective with Cincinnati police: 513 352-1970 or email@example.com
- Mark Piepmeier, chief assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor: 513 946-3078 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2019 FOX19 NOW. All rights reserved. Cincinnati Enquirer also contributed to this report.