The killer of a Decatur woman whose strangulation death in Mississippi went unsolved for more than 13 years has confessed, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office in Mississippi.
Nancy Carol Stevens' killer is Samuel Little, a 78-year-old who claims to have been involved in more than 90 deaths dating back to 1970, according to Lee County investigators.
Motorists discovered Stevens' body on a roadside near Tupelo, Mississippi, on Aug. 8, 2005. The coroner determined the 46-year-old died of manual asphyxiation.
In a news release posted on its Facebook page today, the Lee County Sheriff's Office said it was contacted by Texas Rangers after Little admitted to killing a woman named Nancy in the Tupelo area. Lee County investigators traveled to the Wise County Jail in Decatur, Texas, to interview Little.
"Little confessed to killing victim Nancy Stevens, giving detailed information only the suspect would know," according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
Little told investigators he and Stevens were traveling in his recreational vehicle "and he killed Stevens in the west main Walmart parking lot in Tupelo and dumped her body on the side of County Road 41," the Sheriff's Office said.
The case will be presented to a Lee County grand jury in January, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Little was previously convicted of three California murders and long suspected in numerous other deaths.
Ector County, Texas, District Attorney Bobby Bland said Little was booked into jail this month following his indictment in the 1994 death of a Texas woman. Investigations are ongoing, but Little has provided details in more than 90 deaths dating to about 1970, Bland said last week.
Little was brought to Texas in September, and investigators with law enforcement agencies in several states traveled to speak with him about unsolved homicides.
"They're able to match up over 30 cases so far," Bland said last week. "So far we don't have any false information coming from him."
If the number of killings Little claims to have committed proves true, it would make him one of the most prolific killers in U.S. history. Ted Bundy confessed to 30 homicides from about 1974 to 1978. John Wayne Gacy killed at least 33 boys and young men in the 1970s.
During his 2014 trial in Los Angeles, prosecutors said Little was likely responsible for at least 40 killings since 1980. Authorities at the time were looking for possible links to deaths in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Texas.
Little was being held without bond Thursday in the Ector County jail on a murder charge relating to a death there.
Little was brought to Texas for questioning in the case from California, where he was convicted in 2014 in the deaths years earlier of the three women in Los Angeles County. DNA evidence collected from old crime scenes was used to match samples of his stored in a criminal database.
Little's criminal history includes offenses committed in 24 states spread over 56 years — mostly assault, burglary, armed robbery, shoplifting and drug violations.
Detectives in California determined that Little often delivered a knockout punch to women and then proceeded to strangle them, dumping the bodies and soon after leaving town.
Little, who often went by the name Samuel McDowell, grew up with his grandmother in Lorain, Ohio. His criminal history shows his first arrest came at age 16 on burglary charges.
For years he had denied to investigators in different states that he was responsible for any killings. Bland speculates that he finally confessed after the appeals to his life sentence in California were ultimately rejected and he no longer had any reason to hide his role.