How a Texas Ranger Convinced a Serial Killer to Come Clean About His 93 Murders

James Holland and his team have confirmed 57 of Samuel Little's 93 confessions

Samuel Little, who was indicted on charges that he murdered three women in Los Angeles in the 1980s, listens to opening statements as his trial begins on AUGUST 18, 2014.  (Photo by Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Samuel Little, who was indicted on charges that he murdered three women in Los Angeles in the 1980s, listens to opening statements as his trial begins on AUGUST 18, 2014. (Photo by Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / September 27, 2019 6:00 am

Samuel Little made headlines earlier this year when the FBI sought the public’s help in identifying his many victims by releasing his drawings of them, but now the Los Angeles Times has an in-depth piece detailing how Texas Ranger James Holland convinced Little — who claims to have killed 93 women over the course of four decades, making him one of the most prolific serial killers in American history — to talk.

Little was already serving a life sentence for three murders in Los Angeles when Holland first met him, and after 650 hours of interviews over the course of 16 months, Holland and his team have been able to confirm 57 of Little’s 93 confessions. “Samuel Little has given me a massive gift, a gift to bring closure to victims’ families who have gone years without knowing what really happened to their loved ones,” Holland told the Times. “I have a responsibility. It is a big one. I feel it. I have to run with this and take it wherever it goes, do whatever it takes. And we know time is slipping away.”

Holland stressed the importance of being able to provide closure to the families of Little’s victims. “So we took something of a blood oath: ‘Confessions are great. But nothing means anything until we prove these all up,'” he said.

One breakthrough between Holland and Little happened when the detective promised that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty if Little confessed to additional murders. Four hours after receiving a letter confirming that he would not get the death penalty, Little confessed to 17 more killings.

Ultimately, Holland told the Times, Little is a “sociopath with extreme psychopathic tendencies.” “The man is an absolute genius, and he has a sickness,” he said. “He doesn’t know why, and I don’t know why.”

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