LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury has convicted a career criminal with ties to Lorain and Medina counties for the serial killings of three women in the 1980s.
The jury on Tuesday found 74-year-old Samuel Little, who also is known as Samuel McDowell, guilty of three counts of murder.
The victims were 41-year-old Carol Alford, whose body was found July 13, 1987; 35-year-old Audrey Nelson, found Aug. 14, 1989; and 46-year-old Guadalupe Apodaca, found Sept. 3, 1989.
Los Angeles police detectives have said the three women were strangled in sexually motivated killings and their partially clad bodies dumped.
The prosecution was made possible by advances in DNA technology that linked evidence from the three crime scenes to Little. Little was arrested in 2012 after detectives from Los Angeles found him living in a Kentucky homeless shelter.
Prosecutor Beth Silverman has said Little is likely responsible for at least 40 killings nationwide, dating to 1980. Authorities in Ohio, California, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and Mississippi are scouring their cold-case files for possible ties to Little.
Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said Tuesday that detectives have worked with the LAPD in recent years to see if there was a connection between Little and unsolved homicides or disappearances in northern Ohio.
Although investigators weren’t able to tie Little to any local slayings, Costantino said it was still good police work to make certain.
Little was born in Reynolds, Ga., in 1940, but grew up in Lorain and appears to have had his first criminal conviction in Lorain County, when he was sentenced to an Ohio juvenile detention facility in 1957 for breaking and entering.
After being released in 1961, he was quickly convicted as an adult for another break-in and spent three years in prison. From there, court records indicate, Little racked up convictions in Lorain and Medina counties and in about half the states in the union before his arrest two years ago.
Although many of the crimes he was arrested for were relatively minor, others involved violence, including robbery, assault on a police officer and for attacking two women in San Diego in the 1980s.
Despite a large number of arrests, Little wasn’t always convicted.
A jury cleared him in the 1982 strangulation death of a woman in Gainesville, Fla., and aggravated assault and sodomy charges against him in Cuyahoga County were dropped in 1977.