Samuel Legg is an Arizona man who is accused of possibly being a serial killer whose DNA is linked to at least four murders of women at Ohio and Illinois truck stops.
Thus far, though, Legg has only been charged in one rape case and in the separate aggravated murder of Sharon Kedzierski. Legg, 49, has worked as a long-haul truck driver, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
“This has been a total team effort from the top down,” Medina County Sheriff Tom Miller said in a news release. “This investigation highlights the best in law enforcement cooperation as none of this would be possible without the work of all of us.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Legg Is Accused in the Rape of a Teenager
Legg was first arrested for the rape of a teenage girl. “The rape occurred in 1997 and, as of a couple months ago, the case was still unsolved. With the technical assistance of the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) along with years of intelligence work, a positive DNA confirmation was recently made. This allowed the Medina County Sheriff’s Office to extradite Samuel W. Legg III from Arizona,” the Ohio Attorney General wrote in a news release.
“Our job is to help local law enforcement in whatever way possible to get bad guys off the street,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in the release. “This is a textbook case of all partners involved doing their very best each day to bring justice on behalf of a victim. Thanks to the diligent work of the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, this suspect was returned to Ohio to face justice.”
The girl, 17, told authorities she was raped in 1997 when she “hitched a ride with a truck driver after visiting her boyfriend in Cleveland,” reports Cleveland.com.
According to the newspaper, the rape occurred at a Speedway truck stop at Interstate 71 in Medina, Ohio. Legg was on authorities’ radar back then but charges were not brought, the Gazette reported.
“Medina County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kevin Ross and (Medina County Prosecutor Forrest) Thompson flew to Arizona to bring the suspect back before indicting him on Jan. 28, 2019, on two counts of rape. Legg will be arraigned tomorrow, Feb. 14, 2019, in front of Medina County Common Pleas Judge Joyce Kimbler at 9 a.m.,” the Attorney General wrote in a news release.
2. DNA Evidence Has Linked the Suspect to Four Homicides, the Attorney General Says
Authorities have not named all of the homicide victims, nor has Legg been charged in the cases, but the Ohio Attorney General alleges that he was also linked through DNA to four murders. They did say that three of those deaths were in Ohio and one in Illinois.
“The DNA match not only was confirmation of the 1997 rape, but is also linked to four homicides. Details of those cases are not available as indictments have not yet been made,” the Attorney General wrote in the news release.
“This case illustrates that the advancements in science, particularly with DNA testing, in conjunction with the increasing education of law enforcement in learning how to apply these advancements in the field has allowed us to find justice for victims of crime where it may have been lost in the past,” Thompson said.
According to the Gazette, Nicole Myers attended one of Legg’s court hearings because she suspects him in the death of her friend Angela Hicks, a 14-year-old cheerleader slain in 1990. Legg was then her stepfather, and he was questioned in the case, the newspaper says, but he was never arrested.
A 2007 story on the case in the Chronicle Telegram reported that Hicks had been with Legg before she disappeared and that there was tension between them.
3. Kedzierski Was Beaten to Death at a Truck Stop
The murder for which Legg stands charge is of a woman beaten to death at a truck stop – Kedzierski. She died in 1992 in Austintown.
Before the break in the case, the Ohio AG posted information about Kedzierski’s then unsolved case on his website, writing:
On April 9, 1992, the body of an unidentified white female was found near the edge of the Universal Truck Mall parking lot in Austintown, Ohio. She had been deceased for approximately 24 hours and died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries to the head, face, and upper chest. Her estimated age is mid 30’s to mid 40’s. The victim’s ears were both single-pierced. She had a 1 3/4″ scar right of the belly button and previously underwent surgery to remove her appendix. She also had a 2 1/4″ scar midline on the lower back, immediately above the buttocks. The victim was clothed in a well-worn, short-sleeved blue shirt, men’s brief-style underwear (size small), and a white tube sock with three dark blue stripes at the top. A woman’s calf-high brown leather boot (size 10) and a blue baseball cap with the logo ‘Lesco Truck Rental, Chatanooga, TN’ was found nearby. This woman was later identified as Sharon Lynn Kedzierski.
The location was given as Universal Truck Mall & Flea Market, 5370 Clarkins Drive Austintown, Ohio – Mahoning County. She had disappeared from Miami Lakes, Florida. The Sun Sentinel reported that she “worked as a bookkeeper or in the income tax preparation field,” and was divorced with children. It’s not clear how she ended up in Ohio.
“In this particular case, all of that DNA data, the semen, the blood, the hair, everything was maintained in such a way that 20 years, 30 years later it’s still good and it’s still capable of convicting somebody who you matched this with through DNA,” Don Corbett, a retired detective, told News 5 Cleveland.
He told the television station he thinks authorities should investigate whether Legg could be connected to 10 murders in Austintown of prostitutes at truck stops (Kedzierski was not one).
WKBN reported that Kedzierski wasn’t identified for 20 years, and authorities didn’t release how they beliee she had encountered Legg.
4. Legg Lived in a Group Home & Has Mental Health Issues
The Chronicle reports that Legg has been married four times and was living in a group home in Arizona. According to the newspaper, authorities say he has “issues with schizophrenia” and has been a transient in Florida and Texas. He did not have a serious criminal history.
Authorities say they focused on Samuel Legg because of familial DNA.
That’s a relatively new and controversial method in which authorities attempt to match DNA from criminal suspects to family members – sometimes distant ones. Then, they map out the family tree of the suspect, and use traditional investigative techniques to figure out who within it fits other parameters in the case or cases.
Familial DNA was used to apprehend the man accused of being the Golden State killer in California, and it’s been used to pinpoint suspects in other cold cases throughout the country.
5. A Columbus Dispatch Reporter Exposed a String of Similar Truck Stop Murders Years Ago But Legg Was a Teenager During Some of Those Years
Years ago, a journalist was on the trail of an Ohio truck stop serial killer. According to the Columbus Dispatch, an intrepid reporter exposed a similar pattern in truck stop deaths throughout Ohio years ago. However, it’s not clear whether Legg was responsible for any of them.
Journalist Michael J. Berens, a later Pulitzer Prize winner, found eight similar cases and four deaths in other states from 1985 to 1990. “Most suffered blunt-force trauma to the face, and most of their bodies were dumped along an interstate,” the newspaper reports. You can learn more about some of the cases Berens unearthed here.
The stories dated to 1991. After those reports, a task force was created, the newspaper reports.
Legg was a teenager when some of the truck stop murders in Ohio occurred, however. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, in one of the cases, it was suspected the killer used the CB handle “Dr. No.” That case dates to 1987, though (Legg is only 49). Several of the murders date to 1985. It’s not clear which, if any, of these women Legg is accused of killing, especially due to how young he would have been. Throughout the years, many truck driving killers have been caught in the United States.