The Other McCain

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Samuel Little: FBI Says Serial Killer Murdered at Least 34 Women

Posted on | December 21, 2018 | Comments Off on Samuel Little: FBI Says Serial Killer Murdered at Least 34 Women

Samuel Little in a mug shot from the 1980s (left) and more recently (right).

After I posted my earlier Violence Against Women updates, my brother Kirby called to tell me about Samuel Little, who authorities believe may be the most prolific serial killer ever apprehended. Little, now 78 years old, is serving a life sentence for murdering three women in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. He has reportedly confessed to 90 murders, and the FBI says their Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) has confirmed 34 of those. The FBI’s announcement is interesting:

Little’s run-ins with the law date back to 1956, and there are clear signs of a dark, violent streak among his many shoplifting, fraud, drug, solicitation, and breaking and entering charges. But law enforcement has only recently begun unraveling the true extent of his crimes.
Little was arrested at a Kentucky homeless shelter in September 2012 and extradited to California, where he was wanted on a narcotics charge. Once Little was in custody, Los Angeles Police Department detectives obtained a DNA match to Little on the victims in three unsolved homicides from 1987 and 1989 and charged him with three counts of murder. For these crimes, Little was convicted and sentenced in 2014 to three consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole.
In all three cases, the women had been beaten and then strangled, their bodies dumped in an alley, a dumpster, and a garage. . . .
In the early 1980s, Little had also been charged with killing women in Mississippi and Florida but escaped indictment in Mississippi and conviction in Florida. He had, however, served time for assaulting a woman in Missouri and for the assault and false imprisonment of a woman in San Diego.
When Los Angeles got the DNA hit on Little, they asked the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) to work up a full background on him. The FBI found an alarming pattern and compelling links to many more murders.
ViCAP reached out to the Texas Rangers with one clear connection. “We found a case out of Odessa, Texas, that sounded very much like him, and we could place him passing through the area around the same time,” said ViCAP Crime Analyst Christina Palazzolo, who worked on the cases with Department of Justice Senior Policy Advisory and ViCAP Liaison Angela Williamson. “We sent that lead out to the Texas Rangers, who were eager to follow up on the long-cold case.” . . .
In total, Little confessed to 90 killings, and Palazzolo and Williamson have been working to match up evidence to as many confessions as they can. Thus far, the team has confirmed 34 killings with many more pending confirmation. There are still a number of Little’s confessions that remain uncorroborated. . . .
From the time Little dropped out of high school and left his Ohio home in the late 1950s, he lived a nomadic life. Palazzolo and Williamson said he would shoplift and steal in a city or town to gather the money to buy alcohol and drugs, but never stayed in one place for long. He would drive from New Jersey to California in a matter of days, reports Palazzolo, and when he had his many run-ins with police, they often just wanted to shoo him out of town. . . .
“The biggest lesson in this case is the power of information sharing,” said Kevin Fitzsimmons, ViCAP’s Supervisory Crime Analyst. “These connections all started in our database of violent crime.” . . .
“A Jane Doe who turned up dead in an alley in New Orleans may look like an isolated event,” stressed Fitzsimmons. “But when entered into the ViCAP database and examined with other mysterious deaths or missing persons, patterns emerge. That is the value of ViCAP.”

Think back to the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995, one of the first high-profile cases involving DNA evidence and an all-black jury refused to convict him, a verdict that everyone at that time saw was fraught with racial significance. Nowadays, television programs have familiarized the public with DNA evidence, and it is unlikely that a case like Simpson’s would end in an acquittal now, without regard to race. What the Samuel Little case shows, however, is that for many years our law enforcement system did not deal effectively with violent black criminals. As the FBI notes, nearly all of Little’s victims were “marginalized and vulnerable women who were often involved in prostitution and addicted to drugs. Their bodies sometimes went unidentified and their deaths uninvestigated.” Nevertheless, when Little was charged in two homicides — killing a mentally disabled woman in Florida and a prostitute in Mississippi — authorities were unable to convict him.

When people talk about racism in relation to criminal justice, they often fail to understand how this cuts both ways. Unfortunately, our system seems to view some victims as more valuable than others, and the black criminal who preys upon black victims (which was the case in most of Little’s crimes) is less likely to do serious prison time than any criminal (whatever their race) who targets white victims. Black-on-black crime is not taken as seriously as it should be — certainly, the national media can’t be bothered to pay attention to the rampant violence in cities like Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans and Chicago — and this involves a form racism that liberals seldom think about. Because they don’t want to depict black people as prone to criminality, the media unwittingly contribute to a situation in which innocent black people suffer disproportionately from violent crime and nobody seems to care.

It is not racist to take seriously the problem of violent crime in the black community. What is racist is to take for granted that our nation’s major cities will always be dangerous places, that there is nothing we can do to reduce the menace of crime. As the Samuel Little case demonstrates, law enforcement has developed technologies and methodologies that make it harder for criminals to get away with serious crimes. If you’ve ever watched The First 48 on the A & E network, you know that homicide detectives now often solve murders with help from surveillance cameras and data retrieved from cell phones. Most states now routinely take DNA samples from convicted criminals, and this DNA evidence becomes part of a national databank that can be used to solve crimes. Fingerprints are also part of a national databank, and it is thus far less likely that a criminal can get away with a serious crime because of a lack of evidence.

What the Samuel Little case also highlights is how much crime in our society is perpetrated by repeat offenders. Little was arrested over and over for crimes like burglary, theft and narcotics, and yet in the course of a decades-long criminal career, served only about 10 years in prison. As the FBI notes, most times, police “just wanted to shoo him out of town,” and so he went from town to town, dead bodies piling up in his wake.

In 2017, according to the FBI, 15,129 Americans were the victims of homicide and 51.8% of these victims were black. Overall, less than 62% of homicides were “cleared” by arrests, which means that nearly 40% of killers are getting away with murder. This is not because murderers are criminal masterminds, but because so many U.S. homicides occur in urban neighborhoods where police are overwhelmed by the enormous amount of violent crime, much of which involves drug-dealing gangs:

The issue of murder clearance rates is in the spotlight as Chicago officials struggle to solve gun violence that’s plaguing the city. But the nation’s third-largest city, which only cleared 26 percent of its homicides in 2016, is just one among many big cities struggling to quickly solve gun crimes, according to FBI data and crime experts. . . .
In big cities such as Baltimore, Chicago and New Orleans — which cleared less than 28 percent of its homicide cases in 2016 — the fracturing of gangs has added a difficult dimension for detectives as they try to glean information from the streets. . . .
In Memphis, Tennessee . . . the city saw its homicide clearance fall to 38 percent in 2016. . . .
Detroit, which [in 2016] had the third-worst per capita homicide rate in the nation, managed to clear less than 15 percent of homicides in 2016, down from about 35 percent the prior year.

Many U.S. cities have backlogs of hundreds of unsolved “cold-case” murders, which means thousands of murderers are running loose in America. If that doesn’t bother you, it should. Just because an unsolved drive-by shooting happened on Chicago’s South Side doesn’t mean the killer is going to stay in Chicago, and no one is safe anywhere as long as so many killers are allowed to escape justice.

Finally, what do feminists have to say about Samuel Little? Nothing. You can hear the crickets chirping. “Intersectionality” means that feminists only care about violence against women when the perpetrators are “privileged” white males, so Jessica Valenti and her feminist comrades have nothing to say about this man who killed dozens of women.



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