The most prolific serial killer by number of murders in American history is Samuel Little, the FBI announced in 2019. Little has confessed to 93 murders including that of Patricia Ann Mount. He was once charged with killing her but was originally acquitted at trial. He has since admitted to his involvement in her murder.
Little, who is 80 years old and in a wheelchair, has confessed to 93 murders according to The New York Times report. The FBI believes that “all of his confessions are credible,” and are looking for help identifying the remaining 43 victims, as 50 of the women he killed have been identified.
The FBI has released over a dozen sketches drawn by Little of the women he said he killed. The sketches were accompanied by information about where the serial killer said he met the women and what happened to them.
Little Was Acquitted of the Murder of Patricia Ann Mount
These six women were victims of #SamuelLittle, America’s most prolific serial killer. Little murdered 93 people, targeting women. He also sketched portraits of some of his victims. We want to honor those we know and those still unknown by redrawing their final picture. pic.twitter.com/URaofRVeH2
— Investigation Discovery (@DiscoveryID) August 25, 2020
Little had been arrested more than 75 times before eventually being charged with the murders he now serves time in prison for, according to People. Because he mostly lived life as a transient and went from place to place, investigators did not connect his crimes for years.
His lifestyle made it harder for authorities to track the killings or recognize a pattern, and his previous arrests were nearly all due to petty offenses. Police even sometimes would drop charges against him, hoping he would leave their jurisdiction, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In 1982, Little was put on trial for the murder of Patricia Mount. He ultimately walked free, but he had been accused of beating, raping and strangling the 26-year-old woman, according to the Gainseville Sun.
According to court records cited by the website, Mount was last seen at a bar dancing with a man identified as Little. The jury in the case deliberated for less than a half hour before acquitting him of the crime.
The prosecution later admitted that the case had been a weak one, and defense attorney John Kearns said “there is more doubt than there is fact” in his closing statements.
Little Was a Lead Suspect in the Murder of Melinda Rose LaPree
— Investigation Discovery (@DiscoveryID) August 30, 2020
Melinda Rose LaPree was murdered in 1982 in Pascagoula, Mississippi. There was no physical evidence at the scene because her body had been found in a heavily decomposed state, but other sex workers who worked with LaPree said she’d left in a station wagon with a man matching Little’s description.
Just six weeks later, police pulled Little over in a traffic stop, and he became their number one suspect in LaPree’s murder. The witnesses identified Little in a photo lineup, but prosecutors did not file charges because there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime scene, according to Oxygen’s “Catching a Serial Killer.”
“The evidence was gone,” Pascagoula Police Department Lt. Darren Versiga said. “She had been out in the elements, and the decomposition destroyed anything that we could have positively put him with Melinda LaPree.”
Little was kept in custody for six months as the police worked to build a case against him. That was when investigators linked LaPree’s murder to Mount’s, and Little was extradited to face charges for Mount’s murder.
When he was set free, detectives were devastated and worried.
“It was terribly frustrating, and we knew he was going to kill again,” Aluchua County Sheriff’s Department Detective Greg Weeks told Oxygen.
Little was found guilty of two murders in September 2014. The FBI has since released a timeline of his life and his crimes as well as details of his unmatched confessions and sketches of his alleged victims. He is serving multiple life sentences for murder.