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Serial killer who confessed to more than 90 murders charged in two Cleveland cold case homicides

Samuel Little: 78-year-old man confesses to 90 killings
Posted at 4:16 PM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-02 19:07:32-04

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A serial killer from Lorain who confessed last year to killing 93 women has been indicted for the deaths of two Cleveland women in 1984 and 1991.

Samuel Little, 78, has been charged with four counts of aggravated murder and six counts of kidnapping, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

The prosecutor's office stated that in 1984, Little went to a bar on Cleveland's East Side near East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue. He met a 21-year-old woman named Mary Jo Peyton. The two left the bar together and Little drove her to an abandoned factory, strangled her to death and then threw her body down a stair well.

In 1991, Little was driving around on Cleveland's East side near East 55th Street and Central Avenue. While there, he met a 32-year-old woman named Rose Evans and offered her a ride. He then drove her to an abandoned property, killed her and then dumped her body in a vacant lot and covered her with tires, according to the prosecutor's office.

Investigators said Little strangled both women with his hands.

"He knew he was going to kill them when he was strangling them and he enjoyed taking the life out of them," said Rick Bell, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

Bell traveled to Texas to interview Little after he told investigators there he killed in Cleveland.

"We asked him about that, how can you remember each one of these cases?" Bell said. "He said 'I remember all of my girls.'"

Authorities said Little’s murder spree spanned more than three decades, starting in 1970, and came to an end in 2005. Police have confirmed the deaths of more than half of the victims Little confessed to.

“There are no words to describe the pure evil that exists within Samuel Little,” Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said. “His heinous disregard for human life is incomprehensible.”

According to the Associated Press, Little, who often went by the name Samuel McDowell, grew up with his grandmother in Lorain, Ohio. His criminal history shows his first arrest came at age 16 on burglary charges.

Investigators said in 1970, while in jail in Cleveland, he befriended a woman in a cell one floor above him. Prosecutors said the two would talk through the floor, then linked-up when they were released and began a cross-country crime spree that lasted decades.

"He was not a very good shoplifter and she was," Bell said. "So they would drive together, they would go from city to city in at least 12 states and they would steal coats, boots, jackets, shirts from large department stores and small stores. They would sell them on the inner streets of different cities they would visit."

Bell said once Little's girlfriend would go to bed, he would hit the streets hunting women.

"His main concern was finding people who would not be missed and making sure when he did try to abduct somebody that he would do it where there were no other witnesses around," Bell said. "Where no one would realize he had been there and then he would high-tail it out of town as quick as he could."

Last year, Little was brought to Texas for questioning in a case from California where he was convicted in 2014 in the deaths years earlier of three women in Los Angeles County. DNA evidence collected from old crime scenes was used to match samples of his DNA stored in a criminal database.

If the number of killings Little claims to have committed proves true, it would make him one of the most prolific killers in U.S. history. Ted Bundy confessed to 30 homicides from about 1974 to 1978. John Wayne Gacy killed at least 33 boys and young men in the 1970s.

Little is currently serving multiple life sentences in Texas. Cuyahoga County authorities said they issued a warrant for his arrest and he will be arraigned at a later time.

Bell said Little confessed to killing a third woman in Cleveland and then dumping her body between Cleveland and Akron. Investigators are still working find and identify the woman.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.