Serial killer's confession resolves 1981 slaying case

CINCINNATI (AP) — Investigators who interviewed a serial killer about two victims he said he killed described him Friday as a friendly, normal-appearing person with chillingly abnormal desires.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced that Samuel Little has been indicted for the 1981 murder of Anna Lee Stewart. She was last seen alive in Cincinnati. Her body was dumped in Grove City, near Columbus.

Little, who claims to have killed more than 90 women, is also charged with a second murder in Cincinnati. He confessed to killing a woman whose identity remains a mystery.

Little, who turned 79 Friday, told investigators he targeted women who wouldn't be missed right away, such as street people or prostitutes, and whose necks appealed to him for strangulation, which gave him sexual gratification.

"To him, strangulation was sex," said Mark Piepmeier, chief assistant Hamilton County prosecutor. "That's how bizarre this person is. That struck both of us as 'this cat's different than anybody we normally deal with.' "

"He described it as telling a normal man that normal sexual intercourse was a crime," said Cincinnati Police Detective Kelly Best. "And when he got the urge, that's when he would seek out a woman and commit his crimes."

She and Piepmeier said Little seemed to be trying his best to help them.

Related: Vintage crime photos from the Daily News

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Vintage crime photos from the Daily News
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Vintage crime photos from the Daily News
UNITED STATES - MARCH 03: Confessed Slayer Enraged. William Patrick Farrell screams as he lunges toward fotog taking his picture in van outside Police Headquarters. Police say that Farrell, 25, father of two, reenacted for them the slaying of NYU coed Ann Yarrow last month. Farrell, a patient at Bellevue Hosipital twice before, was ordered to Bellevue again. (Photo by Al Amy/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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UNITED STATES - JANUARY 20: Isadore Strauss in jail cell at police headquarters after his arrest for murder and robbery in connection with Whittemore gang job. (Photo by Paul Levine/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 04: Abe (Kid Twist) Reles (center) in a police mug shot. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: Liquor store owner Abraham Weissman views the body of stickupman, Otis Mims, whom he shot during an attempted robbery. (Photo by Gary Kagan/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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(Original Caption) When John Kerr, of 147 W. 84th Street, and Peter Macon, 490 Columbus Avenue, were being booked on a mugging charge at the West 68th St. Precinct today, photographer Phil Grietzer, New York Daily News photographer, drew a bead on the proceedings with his camera. He didn't know the boys had a camera allergy. But he found out when the two, although handcuffed together, came charging at him. Another photographer who doesn't suffer from buck fever, got this picture.
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 16: Driver and bodyguard Thomas Bilotti lies on the street next to car after he and crime boss Paul Castellano were shot to death outside East Side steakhouse. (Photo by Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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"He was friendly, conversational, very open, very helpful," Best said, adding that there appeared to be nothing about him that would give "a vibe" of danger.

Little, also known as Samuel McDowell, provided a sketch and description of the second Cincinnati woman. Deters said interns from his office are studying coroner's records in hopes of determining who she was.

Deters and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien, who joined him from Columbus, both called Little "evil."

O'Brien came to Cincinnati two days after announcing the murder indictment of an Ohio doctor, William Husel, in the deaths of 25 hospital patients who, authorities say, were killed with deliberate overdoses of painkillers, many of them administered by other medical workers on his orders. It's one of the biggest cases of its kind ever brought against an American health care professional.

"You think you've seen it all ... but then something new happens and you shake your head," O'Brien said of the two cases.

Deters expects Little will plead guilty later this year to the Hamilton County cases via Skype from prison in California.

Little was indicted last week in Cleveland for the strangulation deaths of two women. Authorities are trying to identify a third Cleveland-area victim.

Little's toll appears to have surpassed the likes of serial killers including John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy and Green River's Gary Ridgway. Little was convicted in California of three slayings in 2013 and pleaded to another killing last year in Texas .

Little grew up in Lorain, in northeast Ohio. The FBI in February released sketches drawn by Little of some of his victims based on his memories of them.

Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland in Odessa, Texas, said 50 cold homicide cases have been closed as a result of Little's confessions and that most of the remaining unsolved slayings occurred in California.

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Associated Press journalists Angie Wang and John Minchillo contributed in Cincinnati.

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Follow Dan Sewell at https://www.twitter.com/dansewell

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