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What We Know About Samuel Little, America's 'Genius' And 'Most Prolific Killer'

Samuel Little got away with murder for 44 years and now he's confessed to the murder of 93 women.

Until 2014, Little had avoided a murder conviction.

He had been arrested dozens of times for various crimes including armed robbery, rape and kidnapping, but had served less than 10 years jail time.

Finally, DNA linked Little to the deaths of three women in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

In court, prosecutors labelled him a ‘sexual predator,’ and he was sentenced to three life sentences. Despite his conviction, he denied everything.

Samuel Little claims he killed 93 women over nearly 50 years. IMAGE: 60 Minutes

The turning point came in May 2018 when Texas Ranger James Holland, who had previously convinced dozens of killers to confess, caught wind of the case and flew to California to speak to Little, whose name had been popping up in connection to a number of unsolved killings around the country.

It took mere minutes for Little to admit that he was responsible for the 1994 disappearance and murder of prostitute Denise Brothers in the city of Odessa, Texas.

How did it come so quickly? Holland told 60 Minutes that he “avoided [talking about] things like remorse and closure for the family,” while speaking to Little and instead told him directly, that he knew little was a killer.

“That appealed to him,” Holland said. “That’s how he defines himself”.

Texas Ranger James Holland convinced Little to confess to 93 killings. Image: CBS News

Over 48 days and 700 hours of interviews, the now 79-year-old former boxer confessed to 93 more murders between 1970 and 2005, 50 of which have since been verified by authorities, the FBI confirmed on Monday.

Little preyed on women he believed the police wouldn't work too hard to find: prostitutes, drug addicts and the homeless.

One victim, Marianne was a black transgender teenager who Little met in a bar in Miami, Florida, during the early 1970s.

A few days later he met Marianne again and killed her near a highway 27, disposing of her body in a swamp.

He lived a nomadic lifestyle, crisscrossing the country for years on end, and left behind no forensic evidence to link him to the crime scenes.

During his confession, the serial killer told Holland that he took the time to size up his victims and his surroundings before he acted.

“I got away with numerous murders, of women, in my life over the span of 50 years,” Little said. "They was [sic] broke and homeless and they walked right into my spider web".

California and Florida were his favourite hunting grounds. He killed roughly 20 of his victims in LA alone.

Samuel Little listens to the opening statements of his murder trial in 2014. Image: Bob Chamberlin via Getty

Little, according to Holland, was nothing less than a “genius”.

“The first thing I picked up on is how wicked smart he was,” the ranger said explaining that the killer had a photographic memory and could clearly describe the immediate area around the killing site.

“There's three tombstones over there. There's a caliche road. Drive down a quarter of a mile, there's a white Baptist church that needs to be whitewashed. Phenomenal,” Holland recalled from his interview.

The man also had a knack for drawing. Little was able to use his exceptional memory to draw his victims with incredible accuracy, decades after they were killed.

It is these drawings that have helped authorities solve cold case murders they had passed off as impossible.

Drawings by admitted serial killer Samuel Little, based on his memories of some of his victims. Image: FBI

The deaths of some victims had been ruled as overdoses or from accidental or unknown causes, the FBI confirmed, while the bodies of others were simply never found.

Authorities are now using the drawings to help confirm each and every one of his victims.

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“For many years, Samuel Little believed he would not be caught because he thought no one was accounting for his victims,” Christie Palazzolo, an FBI crime analyst, said in a statement.

“Even though he is already in prison, the FBI believes it is important to seek justice for each victim — to close every case possible.”

Samuel Little leaves the Ector County Courthouse after attending a pre-trial hearing Monday, November 26, 2018 in Odessa, Texas. IMAGE: Mark Rogers AP

Their search has become a race against time. Little is growing old and there is a fear that his memory is becoming fuzzy.

This week the FBI issued an urgent call to the public for any information that will confirm the identities of his remaining victims.

Not all have sketches, though. Holland is still encouraging Little to keep drawing until all 93 victims are identified.

The FBI released some of the sketches on Feb. 13, 2019. IMAGE: CBS News

Little is now deemed the worst serial killer in the history of the United States. Gary Ridgway, dubbed the Green River Killer, was convicted of 49 murders and confessed to 20 more, while Ted Bundy and Waye Gacy killed more than 30 people each.

"I don't think there was another person that did what I liked to do,” Little said. “I think I'm the only one in the world. That's not an honour. That's a curse”.

As to why he finally confessed, Little said it might help set innocent people, who may be convicted of his crimes, free.

"Probably be numerous people who are-- been convicted and sent to penitentiary on my behalf. I say, 'If I can help get somebody out of jail, you know, God might smile a little bit more on me'."