Texas Ranger James Holland: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Texas Ranger James Holland

The National Homicide Investigators Association/Wise County Police Texas Ranger James Holland/Samuel Little

Texas Ranger James Holland developed a rapport with serial killer Samuel Little. He solicited confessions from Little, which resulted in sketches of murder victims spanning 35 years from Los Angeles, California to Miami, Florida.

Investigators discovered Texas Ranger James Holland had a special rapport with serial killer Samuel Little, although he was far from the first person to pour extensive investigative research into Little’s criminal patterns. Los Angeles Police Officer Mitzi Roberts was one of the first people to connect Little’s patterns. Odessa Detective Sergeant Snow Robertson was determined to find justice for the Denise Brothers in 1994. He had dealt with Brothers in the past because of Roberts involvement with prostitution, and entered the information into the ViCAP database, which Roberts would add to years later.

Among those who got the confession from Little were Roberts, Holland, ViCAP Crime Analyst Christina Palazzolo and Angela Williamson, a Department of Justice senior policy adviser and ViCAP liaison. But Holland had a special bond with Little, who the serial killer described as “some kind of cowboy from Mars” to New York Magazine, while the Los Angeles Times described Roberts as “a woman [Little] despised.”

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Holland Cracked the Samuel Little Serial Killer Case With Confessions to 93 Murders

Holland got his interview tips from Mitzy Roberts, the Los Angeles Police Officer who first nabbed Little. She became the person Little “most loved to hate,” according to a profile on Little published in New York Magazine.

“To get the Brothers confession from the guy L.A. cops called the Choke-and-Stroke Killer, Holland played on the fact that Roberts was the person Little most loved to hate,” Journalist Jillian Lauren wrote in the profile. ‘What can I tell you about Sam?’ she’d told Holland the day before this first visit. ‘He loves peanut M&M’s, he hates women, and he really fucking hates me. Oh yeah, and don’t call him a rapist. He’s way more sensitive about that than being a killer.’

Holland told the Los Angeles Times getting confessions from Little requires meandering conversations.

“Holland, who wears a Stetson and cowboy boots and carries an ivory-handled .45-caliber pistol, concedes their conversations weren’t so much interrogations as meandering conversations over grits, Dr. Pepper and Braum’s milkshakes. He has said whatever was required to keep Little talking,” the newspaper reported.

He is recognized by the National Homicide Investigation Association for his work in interrogations and serial murders.

“Ranger Holland has worked numerous high profile homicide investigations and apprehended a vast number of serial killers,” his profile said. “Ranger Holland is considered a Subject Matter Expert in interview and interrogation, rapid assessment interview techniques, as well socio and psychopathic mind sets and interview techniques.”


2. Samuel Little Described Holland As ‘Some Kind of Cowboy from Mars’

Texas Ranger James Holland had a special rapport with serial killer Samuel Little, but many before him poured extensive investigative research into Little’s criminal patterns. Odessa Detective Sergeant Snow Robertson was determined to find justice for a prostitute he found murdered: Denise Roberts, a mother of two who escaped an abusive marriage to find herself in drug addiction and prostitution. He inputted the details of the murder into an FBI database, which would later become the crux of linking the crimes. Los Angeles Police Officer Mitzy Roberts inputted data into the same database years later, and became one of the first people to connect Little’s patterns.

Odessa Detective Sergeant Snow Robertson was determined to find justice for the Denise Brothers in 1994. He had dealt with Brothers in the past because of Roberts involvement with prostitution, and entered the information into the ViCAP database, which Roberts would add to years later.

Among those who got the confession from Little were Roberts, Holland, ViCAP Crime Analyst Christina Palazzolo and Angela Williamson, a Department of Justice senior policy adviser and ViCAP liaison. But Holland had a special bond with Little, who the serial killer described as “some kind of cowboy from Mars” to New York Magazine, while the Los Angeles Times described Roberts as “a woman [Little] despised.”

“In May, three months before I first visited Little, Texas Ranger James Holland had gotten him to officially admit to the murder of Denise Brothers,” a New York Magazine profile said. “Eliciting confessions from serial killers is an unexpected specialty for this affable six-foot-three guy wearing a tall hat and silver badge and sporting a 1911 ivory-handled pistol on his double-rig belt — “Some kind of cowboy from Mars,” as Little described him to me.”


3. Holland Joined the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1995 & Provided Security to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush

Texas Ranger James Holland joined the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1995. He became a highway patrol trooper, and rose through the ranks until he was named a lieutenant in 1995. He served as a security detail for then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, and provided security during his campaign for President, according to the National Homicide Investigation Association.

“He began his career with the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Highway Patrol Trooper in 1995, promoting through the ranks to Lieutenant in 2003. While in the Highway Patrol he served in various capacities including as a Sergeant Investigator with the Governor’s Protective Detail (providing security for then Texas Governor George W. BUSH while he was campaigning to be President), the State Criminal Interdiction Coordinator responsible for the state interdiction program, and an EPIC (El Paso Intelligence Center) instructor for the US DEA,” his profile said.

He became a Texas Ranger in 2007 and provided instruction for agencies including the US Department of Justice, Department of Defense, DEA, IRS, and FBI.

“Ranger Holland has instructed thousands of state and local police officers, as well as a vast number of foreign law enforcement and military leaders. Ranger Holland has provided instruction to U.S. Military Special Forces personnel in firearms and interview techniques,” his profile said.


4. Holland Is Continuing to Investigate the Serial Murders, Hoping to Bring Closure to Families

Samuel Little Victims

FBISketches Samuel Little drew of some of the women he killed. All of these victims are unidentified.

Texas Ranger James Holland’s rapport with Samuel Little is so strong that authorities arranged for Little to be jailed close to Holland. Little is in custody in Wise County Jail, where Holland continues to interview Little and collect sketches in hopes of closing cold cases spanning 35 years.

“After Holland interviewed Little, he was indicted for the Odessa homicide and extradited to Texas a few months later,” the FBI profile on Little said. “He remains in the custody of Odessa, but has been housed in Wise County for some time to be closer to Holland, who has been conducting nearly daily interviews to create the most accurate accounting possible of Little’s crimes. Palazzolo and Williamson have continued to gather new information from these interviews and are examining every tie they can find, from mortuary records and death certificates to cold case files.”

An FBI data set includes information on 49 confessions that have not yet been corroborated. In 30 of those confessions, Little sketched the victims.

Holland discovered Little’s penchant for drawing his victims, and provided him with art supplies. Holland sometimes recognizes victims from the sketches, which he has posted around his office, he told 60 Minutes.


5. Holland Has Won Multiple Awards for his Service in the State of Texas

Texas Ranger James Holland has won multiple awards in the state of Texas.

“Ranger Holland was a recipient of the 2017 Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association Peace Officer of the Year Award as well as numerous other commendations including the Governor Clements Award for Career Excellence,” his National Homicide Investigation Association profile said.

He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Louisville and joined the Texas Department of Public Safety as a patrol officer in 1995. He earned the rank of Lieutenant in 2005 and became a Texas Ranger in 1995.

“James B. Holland is a Texas Ranger assigned to the Unsolved Crime Investigation Program; responsible for cold case homicide, serial killer, ritualistic killing, and dismemberment investigations,” his profile said. “Ranger Holland has worked numerous high profile homicide investigations and apprehended a vast number of serial killers.”

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