Right now, 78-year-old Sam Little is sitting in a jail cell in Odessa. He’s awaiting trial there for the 1994 murder of an Odessa woman named Denise Christie Brothers. The thing is, Little says he’s responsible for many more murders, and police believe him. Little has confessed to over 90 murders, more than 30 of which have been corroborated across over a dozen states, making him one of the most prolific serial killers in history.
Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland says Little has eluded police for so many years because he targeted women who were on the fringes of society.
“He killed vulnerable women,” Bland says. “He was able to take advantage of them and their situation and isolate them and kill them.”
Bland says Little’s crimes caught up with him when the state of California convicted him for three murders and gave him life sentences for each one. With Little permanently in jail, a Texas Ranger named James Holland decided to visit him and interview him about other Texas-based murders he suspected Little committed.
“He was able to get in there and make the breakthrough and talk to him and get him to start talking about these cases,” Bland says.
Bland says he believes Little is telling the truth, despite the fact that it may be hard for some to fathom such excessive violence by one person.
“The law enforcement agencies aren’t giving him information. He’s telling us about these crimes,” Bland says. “We’re taking that information and contacting the law enforcement agency in that area and finding out that they have a murder or a body that matches that description, and the details are so specific that he has to be the killer.”
Bland doesn’t know what Little’s motives were and says he won’t speculate. He says what matters now is that Little is being held accountable for the crimes.
Bland has spoken to the family of the Odessa woman, Denise Christie Brothers, whom Little is alleged to have murdered. He says the family is glad to have gotten answers about Brothers. But he says Officer Holland’s work with Little has helped the families of other victims in Texas and beyond.
“Since this has gone public, several other cases have been solved, so it’s been gratifying,” Bland says. “We’ve been hearing from victims and law enforcement from around the country.”
Bland says without Little’s confession, it would have been hard to solve these murders. He says Little is most likely talking now because he will stay in jail for the rest of his life – he’s exhausted all of his appeals. Plus, Bland says Holland built a relationship with Little, which encouraged Little to talk.
Written by Caroline Covington.