Samuel Little, 72, was arrested in Louisville, Ky., in September by U.S. Marshal officers on an unrelated narcotics warrant while investigators built their case. He later waived extradition and was brought to Los Angeles, where he was charged Monday with three murder counts and the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders.
Investigators said the crimes were sexually motivated strangulations. Court papers said the victims were Carol Alford, 41, Audrey Nelson, 35, and Guadalupe Apadaca, 46, whose bodies were found south of downtown.
Little was being held without bail. It's not immediately known whether he has an attorney
Detectives described Little as a transient who has had contact with police in 24 states. They said most of his arrests were for drunken driving and burglary, but they believed he also committed more violent crimes directed at those with "high-risk lifestyles," such as prostitutes and substance abusers.
"He's a career criminal, like a wandering criminal that goes from place to place committing crimes," Detective Mitzi Roberts said.
Little was accused of two murders and two attempted murders in Gainesville, Fla., and Pascagoula, Miss., in the early 1980s, where he was identified then as Samuel McDowell. He avoided conviction in those cases and came to California, where he lived in the mid- to late 1980s in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.
Little served more than two years in state prison after being convicted of assault and the false imprisonment of two San Diego women in separate cases. Detectives believe he killed the three women in Los Angeles shortly after being paroled.