An appellate panel upheld a ‘remorseless, vicious serial killer’s’ conviction for beating and strangling three women to death in Los Angeles in the 1980s, court papers obtained Tuesday show.
“The evidence at trial established that he derived sexual gratification from the act of strangling and murdering his victims, Carol Alford, Audrey Nelson and Guadalupe Apodaca,” Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “His method of killing was particularly ruthless; he lured vulnerable women to him with the promise of drugs and then killed them by beating and manually strangling them.”
In court papers, Silverman described the defendant as a “remorseless, vicious serial killer.” She told reporters that he “absolutely” would have faced a potential death sentence had it not been for his age of 74 at the time of conviction.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal turned down the defense’s claims that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Samuel Little was the person who committed the murders and that the trial court erred by allowing jurors to hear evidence about similar attacks in the 1980s against four other women who survived.
The appeals court justices found in their 38-page ruling, dated Monday, that there was “overwhelming evidence of Little’s guilt” and that the murders and the prior attacks “shared common features that were sufficiently distinctive to support a reasonable inference that Little committed the charged murders.”
Little was 74 by the time he was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole for the killings of Alford, Nelson and Apodaca.
Alford, 41, was found dead on July 13, 1987, in an alley off East 27th Street.
Nelson, 35, was discovered dead on Aug. 14, 1989, in a trash bin behind East Seventh Street, while Apodaca, 46, was found dead less than a month later – – Sept. 3, 1989 — inside a South Los Angeles commercial garage.
Little — who had lived in the South Los Angeles area in the late 1980s and said he was a middleweight prize boxer — was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2012 on an unrelated drug charge out of Los Angeles and extradited to California, where he was charged with the murders.
Little’s attorney questioned the evidence, and challenged the prosecutor’s insistence that DNA proved his client’s guilt.
“I didn’t do it!” Little interrupted after Mary Louise Frias, the niece and goddaughter of one of the victims, told the judge at Little’s September 2014 sentencing that the convicted killer has “no conscience, no soul.”
–City News Service