Keep him talking, don’t interrupt him and, no matter what, don’t ask why he killed his victims. Those were the instructions Texas Ranger James Holland gave to the dozens of homicide detectives around the country when they got their moment with Samuel Little, hoping to solve decades-old cold cases and bring back answers to desperate families from the man the FBI identified this month as the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, the Associated Press reports.
Little ultimately spilled forth with chilling confessions, claiming he killed 93 women in all between 1970 and 2005 and smilingly recounting the details with startling clarity. But to get what they needed, detectives had to employ a certain amount of psychology, some of which made them uncomfortable, such as laughing along with him or putting up with his flirting. Little, 79, is now serving multiple life sentences for three killings in California. He also pleaded guilty to a 1994 murder in Odessa, Texas. Holland elicited scores of confessions from him last year in Texas and then set the guidelines for detectives who would later arrive in the state one by one with stacks of old case files from California to Florida. The detectives would visit him as if on an assembly line, with sometimes two or three agents a day going in.