LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A 74-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole for strangling three women in the 1980s.
Samuel Little got sexual gratification out of strangling the women, all of whom were cocaine addicts, prosecutors said.
A jury convicted Little on Sept. 2 of three counts of first-degree murder after just two hours of deliberation. Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders.
Little was convicted of killing Carol Alford, 41, whose body was found July 13, 1987, in an alley off East 27th Street; Audrey Nelson, 35, whose body was discovered in a dumpster behind East Seventh Street on Aug. 14, 1989; and Guadalupe Apodaca, 46, whose body was found inside a South Los Angeles commercial garage on Sept. 3, 1989.
“I didn’t do it!” Little shouted in court after Mary Louise Frias, the niece and goddaughter of one of the victims, said the convicted killer has “no conscience, no soul.” He later told the judge he hoped he would get a new trial.
Little’s attorney, Michael Pentz, told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli that he was filing a notice of appeal on his client’s behalf.
“The defendant is a serial sexual predator who has been convicted of the deliberate and premeditated murders of three women,” Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman wrote in a sentencing memorandum that urges three consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole. “He has repeatedly brutalized and dehumanized women over the course of many years and deserves to be sentenced to the maximum punishment available by law.”
The prosecution also presented evidence during the trial about four other women who survived similar attacks in the 1980s in San Diego and Mississippi.
Nelson’s sister, Sherri, told the judge she “cannot imagine the horror that went through my sister’s mind when the defendant was choking her to death, while dragging her body, only to discard it in the most despicable manner in a trash Dumpster.” She said the images of the coroner’s presentation about her sister’s death “will be etched in my mind forever.”
The woman’s daughter, Pearl Nelson, told the judge she was 13 “when the police showed up that day,” saying that a long-awaited reunion with her mother was “taken from my fingertips.” She said she was a year old when her mother “had to give me up to her parents” so the girl could have a better life.
Apodaca’s niece, Diana Flores, said through tears, “I know she didn’t deserve to die the way she did.” She said Little’s conviction ensured that he won’t hurt anybody again.
Semen and other DNA from the victims’ clothing matched Little’s DNA profile so closely that, for at least two pieces of evidence, the chance of a random match was one in 450 quintillion, Silverman told jurors.
Little 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.
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