LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — A man accused of killing three women in Los Angeles in the 1980s was nabbed after police found DNA evidence that linked him to the crimes.

Samuel Little, 72, was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Louisville, Ky., in September on unrelated narcotics charges.

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Little, who also went by the name Samuel McDowell, was extradited to California and charged Monday with three counts of murder for the 1987 and 1989 slayings of 41-year-old Carol Alford, 35-year-old Audrey Nelson and 46-year-old Guadalupe Apadaca.

The murder counts also include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, which could make him eligible for the death penalty.

Detective Mitzi Roberts of the Los Angeles Police Department said DNA evidence against Little was retrieved when the cold cases reopened last year with the help of a Department of Justice grant.

She said all of the victims were mothers who led “high-risk” lifestyles.

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“Once he had them, he would strangle them, kill them and then take them to a secondary location where he’d dump the bodies,” Roberts said.

Detectives said Little was also accused, but never convicted, of two murders and two attempted murders in Florida and Mississippi in the early 1980s before he headed to San Diego, where he served two years in state prison for assault and false imprisonment.

He was then paroled to LA and allegedly killed the three mothers in that same time period.

Little was believed to have been in contact with police across the Gulf Coast and Florida for decades. He was arrested for crimes such as drunken driving, shoplifting and burglary.

“We know he’s been arrested in 24 states,” said Roberts.

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