Thursday, May 18, 2017

By Cat Keniston

The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case against a man convicted of murdering three women in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

Samuel Little is serving three consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole for the killings of Carol Alford, Audrey Nelson and Guadalupe Apodaca.

A three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal previously turned down the defense's claims that there was insufficient evidence to prove that 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 appellate court justices cited "overwhelming evidence of Little's guilt" in their Jan. 30 ruling, noting 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 in 2014.

In court papers, Deputy District Attorney Beth 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.

In a sentencing memorandum, the prosecutor wrote that the evidence "established that he derived sexual gratification from the act of strangling and murdering his victims." She said Little's "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."

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."