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Cops and Courts

Serial killer charged in 2 Cleveland deaths

  • Serial-Killer-Investigation

    This undated photo provided by the Ector County Texas Sheriff's Office shows Samuel Little.

    ECTOR COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE VIA AP

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CLEVELAND — Convicted serial killer and former Lorain resident Samuel Little has been indicted on four murder charges in connection with the deaths of two women in Cleveland, one each in 1984 and 1991, authorities announced Friday.

Little, 78, is charged with four counts of aggravated murder and six counts of kidnapping, according to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley’s office.

“There are no words to describe the pure evil that exists within Samuel Little,” O’Malley said Friday. “His heinous disregard for human life is incomprehensible.”

Little currently is imprisoned in Texas, where he pleaded guilty to murder in 2018 and was given a life sentence. He was convicted in 2013 of three murders in California, and was sentenced to multiple life sentences there.

A warrant has been issued for Little’s arrest, and he will be arraigned in Cuyahoga County court at a later date. If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of life without parole, according to O’Malley’s office.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office said Friday that the FBI informed it in October 2018 there was an investigation into five murders Little may have committed in Ohio, including three in the Cleveland area.

Little admitted to the killings while in a Texas prison, and the Special Investigations Division Cold Case Unit in O’Malley’s office was able to identify two of the three victims.

The first was of a 21-year-old woman named Mary Jo Peyton, whom Little met at a bar near East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue one night between May and June 1984, according to O’Malley’s office.

Little and Peyton left the bar, and he drove her to an abandoned factory where he killed her by strangling her with his hands, dragged her out of his car and threw her into a basement stairwell. Two employees of a nearby business found Peyton’s body on July 3, 1984.

In the second killing, Little was driving in the area of East 55th Street and Central Avenue on Aug. 24, 1991, when he met 32-year-old Rose Evans. He offered her a ride, which ended in a vacant lot near East 39th Street. There, Little killed Evans by strangling her with his hands before covering her body with two tires.

A bystander walking by later that morning found Evans’ body, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Authorities have not yet found or identified the third victim claimed by Little. Agencies including the Special Investigations Division Cold Case Unit still are investigating, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Little has confessed to killing 93 women across the United States, more than half of whom have been confirmed by investigators from the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Texas Rangers, among others. His killing spree spanned more than 35 years and a dozen states, beginning in 1970 when he was 30 and ending in 2005 when he was 65, according to O’Malley’s office.

Born in Georgia, Little grew up in the care of his grandmother in Lorain. His criminal record in Lorain County includes a burglary arrest at age 16, time in a juvenile detention facility before his release in 1961, three years in an Ohio prison for a break-in and multiple other convictions in Lorain and Medina counties.

The LAPD contacted Elyria police after discovering Little had shoplifted jeans from a Higbee’s in Elyria in the 1980s.

Little’s last contact with Lorain County authorities was a Dec. 21, 2002, traffic stop in Lorain after which he was detained at the request of another police agency and his car impounded.

Lorain and Elyria police and Lorain County sheriff’s deputies previously said Little was not linked to any unsolved homicides in Lorain County. Investigators had checked for any open cases that might be linked to him in 2013 and 2014, authorities previously said.

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.


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