CINCINNATI – A serial killer serving multiple life sentences in California pleaded guilty Friday in Hamilton County, Ohio to killing two women in Cincinnati decades ago.
Samuel Little, 79, appeared by video feed from the California State Prison in Los Angeles County. The arrangement was made because of his health – he has diabetes and uses a wheelchair.
Little has been linked to homicides in at least 16 states. The FBI says he may be among the country's most prolific serial killers. He has claimed 93 victims, about 60 of whom have been confirmed, officials said Friday.
Prosecutors said Little looked for women who would not be missed, women who appeared to be homeless or prostitutes, or both.
Little wanted it to be known that he never sexually assaulted or kidnapped any of the women.
"He said they always voluntarily went with him. His purpose for picking them up was to kill them," Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier said during the hearing.
Piepmeier was at the California prison, seated at a table next to Little, who was in a wheelchair. One of Little's attorneys, Mark McKenna, sat on the other side of Little.
Common Pleas Judge Melba Marsh oversaw the hearing from a conference room at the Hamilton County Law Library, which is on the courthouse's top floor. Also present were Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien.
Little pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, and Marsh sentenced him to 30 years to life in prison. If necessary, that sentence would follow his sentence in California.
"He's going to die in prison," Deters told reporters. He said he sought consecutive sentences in case a future governor in California decided to terminate Little's sentence.
"You don't know what they're going to do," Deters said, adding that he wanted the option to bring Little back to Ohio. "We want justice for our two victims in Cincinnati."
In one of the Cincinnati cases, the name of the victim is known, Anna Lee Stewart. She was 33 when she was strangled in October 1981. Little told investigators he drove her body to Grove City outside Columbus and dumped her in a wooded area near a small apartment complex.
Stewart's killing was unsolved until Little's confession earlier this year.
In the second case, the victim's name is not known, and Little pleaded guilty to killing a “Jane Doe.”
Officials say the woman was killed sometime between 1980 and the 1990s.
According to prosecutors, Little gave this account: He said he was in or near Downtown Cincinnati. A woman motioned for him to come inside a building. They did drugs together with a second woman he described as a heavy-set "Mexican" woman.
The first woman then agreed to go in a car to have sex with him. Little said he strangled her and left her body on a hillside, possibly under a billboard for Kool cigarettes.
Little was arrested in September 2012 at a Louisville, Kentucky, homeless shelter and extradited to California, where he was wanted on a drug charge. DNA connected Little to victims in three unsolved Los Angeles homicides from 1987 and 1989. He was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole.
Earlier this year, Little wanted to move to a different prison, and in exchange for moving, he agreed to talk to investigators about unsolved cases. The FBI said he eventually created sketches of 26 of his victims, based on his memories of them.
Another of Little's attorneys, Norm Aubin, was in the law library's conference room watching the video feed. Aubin said Little confessions have given closure to at least some victims' families.
Follow Kevin Grasha on Twitter: @kgrasha
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Serial killer pleads guilty to strangling 2 women in Ohio decades ago