PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Samuel Little could be one of the deadliest serial killers in history, and may even be responsible for killing at least one woman in Jackson County more than 30 years ago.
Little admitted to Texas Rangers that he played a part in more than 90 other unsolved murders in 10 states. One of those cases has sat cold in the Pascagoula Police Department for 36 years, but thanks to Little’s recent confession, the victim’s family may finally have some closure.
“In this case, at least now we know and hopefully justice can be served,” said Jackson County District Attorney, Tony Lawrence.
Little was in the Pascagoula area between 1977 and 1982, the same time Melinda LaPree was found dead in a Gautier cemetery.
Many of the police department’s files were lost during Hurricane Katrina, so investigators had to rebuild the LaPree case from files in states like Oklahoma, where Little may also be connected to unsolved murders.
“We had a doctor and anthropologist assisted us in recovering her remains, and they actually had part of our case file," said Lt. Darren Versiga with Pascagoula police. "Another part of the case file was in Apalachicola, Florida.”
Versiga has been sticking with the LaPree case for years. He testified against Little a few years ago in California. Versiga said Little was arrested in connection to the LaPree murder, but because police didn’t have enough evidence to pin him to the crime, the DA’s office decided to not prosecute.
“And looking back at it now, the smartest move was for us to wait and we are here now so we can present this for a trial,” Versiga said.
Police have spent years retracing steps and connecting the dots to find other murders Little may have committed when he was here.
“In Pascagoula, there is at least one other that he talks about,” Versiga said.
There were some other cold cases throughout the county, specifically one that seemed to fit Little’s M.O., but according to police, he denies having any responsibility for that one.
“If he did he will tell you he did it, and he gets really upset if you try to point one to him,” Versiga said.
Little, now 78 years old, is serving three life sentences in California for killing three women, so chances of him carrying out a sentence in Mississippi are nearly impossible.
“It is an old case. It does still have its problems. It has a confession behind it now," Versiga said.
Versiga said he and the district attorney will meet with LaPree’s family and make a decision on whether or not to bring this to trial.
It they decide to go forward with the trial, all of the evidence will be brought before a grand jury in Jackson County so they can make a rational decision about how they want to move forward with this case.