On a fateful day in August 2018, author Jillian Lauren walked into B Block at California State Prison, Los Angeles, to meet a man known to have committed unspeakable acts. Samuel Little, a frail 77-year-old inmate bound to a wheelchair, had a chilling reputation as a serial killer who had claimed the lives of potentially 93 women across 14 states from 1970 to 2005.
Little’s unexpected demeanor left Lauren taken aback, but his words were even more shocking: “You want a story for your book?” he asked.
n her book titled “Behold The Monster: Confronting America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer” published by Sourcebooks, Lauren delves into her interactions with Samuel Little and explores the tragic lives of his victims. The story began when LAPD homicide detective Mitzi Roberts disclosed to Lauren her involvement in Little’s capture, revealing that the number of murders he committed far exceeded his convictions.
Intrigued by this revelation, Lauren initiated correspondence with Little while he was in jail. His responses, often scrawled in “serial killer ALL CAPS,” unveiled unsettling insights. Little’s letters featured crude drawings, notably of a monkey or a man with oversized ears. These doodles signaled the nature of his letters—sad-faced monkeys hinted at disturbing content, while happy ones indicated worse.
Through extensive interviews, Little shockingly admitted to a substantial number of additional murders. Lauren recounts, “He remembered eighty-six, give or take a couple.”
The book delves into Little’s disturbing motivations. He believed he was an agent of divine mercy, placed on Earth to take lives. “He imagined himself as some kind of angel of mercy, divinely commissioned to euthanize,” Lauren writes.
Lauren also uncovered Little’s method of victim selection, often targeting vulnerable individuals on society’s margins—drug addicts and prostitutes, mainly women of color. These victims were “low-hanging fruit,” those he deemed already awaiting their tragic fate.
Little’s criminal history was extensive, having been arrested numerous times across the U.S. Yet, he managed to evade substantial convictions. He served short sentences for grave offenses like rape and assault, releasing him to perpetrate more heinous acts.
The breakthrough came when Little’s DNA linked him to multiple murders. In 2014, he was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for three murders. In a grim twist, in October 2019, the FBI confirmed 50 of Little’s confessions, solidifying him as the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, surpassing even the notorious Green River Killer.
Samuel Little passed away on December 30, 2020, due to COVID-19 complications at the age of 80. Over the course of two years, four months, and 12 days, Jillian Lauren not only unearthed the truth about many of Little’s crimes but also formed an intricate bond with “the ultimate psychopath.” Through her work, she peeled back the layers of a monster’s mind, shedding light on the darkest corners of human nature.