Samuel Little gets three consecutive life terms for murders of three L.A. women

Samuel Little sits in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday awaiting sentencing on three murder convictions. The Associated Press
Samuel Little sits in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday awaiting sentencing on three murder convictions.
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A 74-year-old man suspected in a Pascagoula murder has been sentenced to three consecutive terms of life in prison without chance of parole in the murders of three Los Angeles women.

Samuel Little was convicted earlier this month of the killings, which occurred in the late 1980s.

Little shouted out in court during sentencing Thursday that he didn’t commit the killings and said he hoped for a new trial. His lawyer has filed an appeal.

Little amassed an arrest record in 24 states over 56 years, but spent less than 10 years behind bars. He was arrested at a Kentucky shelter two years ago after DNA connected him to the LA crime scenes.

Little lured his victims with dope and then beat them and strangled them for his sexual pleasure, prosecutors said. He dumped their half-naked bodies in garbage.

Little is a suspect in the 1982 death of 22-year-old Melinda “Mindy” LaPree, who was strangled and dumped in a cemetery in Pascagoula. 

Pascagoula police detective Darren Versiga as well as two former Pascagoula prostitutes who were attacked by Little testified in the California trial.

Over 56 years, Little served less than 10 years in prison for crimes ranging from shop lifting to drug use to assault to armed robbery to rape, authorities said.

The murder convictions three weeks ago were firsts for Little, though he was arrested in two out-of-state killings in 1982.

He was acquitted of murder in a Forest Grove, Florida case. A grand jury didn’t indict him in the Pascagoula killing. Both those killings had similarities with the LA cases.

“I just be in the wrong place at the wrong time with people,” he told Los Angeles police after DNA linked him to the killings and they arrested him two years ago in a Kentucky shelter.

Several women testified at trial about surviving attacks in which Little beat and choked them.

Little’s lawyer argued during trial that his previous record had nothing to do with the LA killings.

Jurors deliberating about two hours before finding him guilty of the murders of Carol Alford, 41, in 1987; and Audrey Nelson, 35, and Guadalupe Apodaca, 46, in 1989.

After his arrest in those killings, authorities began re-examining old cases in California, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.