Two investigators, with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, were granted the opportunity to do something no one from this area had never done before - interview a serial killer.
In November 2018, Lt. Scotty Reedy and Sgt. Len Schaefer were invited to Wise County Jail, in Decatur, Texas by Texas Ranger James Holland.
Decatur is located 25 miles northwest of Fort Worth and 45 miles northwest of Dallas.
Holland was one of the key people involved in getting Samuel Little, the serial killer who confessed to about 90 murders to open up. Investigators have confirmed 34 of those confessed killings.
To put this in prospective Gary “The Green River Killer” had 49 confirmed kills, John Wayne Gacy had 33 and Ted Bundy, 35.
“The reason I was chosen to be an interviewer is I worked the crime scene in 2005 when Nancy Stevens was found,” Reedy said. “We worked and continued to work that murder all these years, and I’ll be honest — I don’t know if we ever would have solved it if he (Little) hadn’t confessed.”’ body was beside CR 41, north of Hwy. 6, close to the Pontotoc County line.
On Aug. 8, 2005 Beatrice Montgomery was on her way to work when she saw a lady lying on the ground. She drove back to her sister’s house, screaming “there’s a dead lady by the church.” The sister called 911, and the two ladies went back to wait by the body. T
he African-American woman was lying on her back, barefoot, wearing a dress, with her arms stretched out beside her. The Lee County Sheriff’s Department responded and were assisted by the Tupelo Police Department, Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Department, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.
The body was transported to NMMC, and then to the medical examiners officer for an autopsy. Deputies collected fingerprints and ran them through the FBI’s crime lab.
The prints came back — Nancy C. Stevens, born March 31, 1959 with a last known address of Decatur, Ala. Drug tests came back from Brandon positive for cocaine.
The Lee County investigators studied everything available on Little and prepared for this once-in-a-lifetime talk with one of the most prolific serial killers.
“He (Little) was very cordial, gave good information and had a very good memory,” Reedy said. “He told us things about the case no one would know. He didn’t necessarily know street names but we showed him a picture of the West Main Walmart parking lot and he noticed they’d changed the color on the store, since he was there.”
The suspect stated he and his female victim were traveling in his RV, he killed her in the West Main Walmart parking lot in Tupelo and dumped her body on the side of County Road 41.
“Little also had prior knowledge of the Tupelo area from when he was arrested in 1995,” Reedy said.
He spent 30 days in the Tupelo city jail for theft in 1995.
Holland had warned the investigators ahead of time that Little had some triggers which would shut him down.
“He didn’t mind being refered to as a ‘serial killer’ but did not want anyone calling him a ‘serial rapist.’ He does not, in general, have any respect for women,” Reedy said.
Little made one exception and allowed Jillian Lauren, a writer for The Cut, after several ‘pen pal’ letters and plying him with Funyuns and a package of Little Debbie Honey Buns, an interview.
“You’re my angel come to visit me from Heaven. God knew I was lonely and he sent me you. You want a story? Oooooeeeee, do I have stories,” Little told her when they first met.
He told her about a teenage mother abandoning him as an infant by the side of a dirt road and his late long-term girlfriend, Jean, who’d been a master shoplifter and supported them that way for years. He refered to the ones he picked up just for sexual gratification as b---- and the ones he claimed to love as his babies.
In his mind, he was some kind of angel of mercy, sent on a mission from God to take out these women who had become part of the underbelly of America, but also occasionally refered to himself as the “devil.”
By 1975, Little had been arrested 26 times in 11 states for crimes including theft, assault, attempted rape, fraud and attacks on government officials. Many wonder why he wasn’t caught for these killings earlier.
“He was very street smart and he moved around a lot,” Reedy said. “He also stayed under the radar and generally picked up women who had drug habits, were prostitutes — people many wouldn’t notice missing.”
Little was arrested for attacking and beating two prostitutes and was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. He was released in February 1987 and soon moved to Los Angeles, where he committed several murders.
The game changed on Sept. 5, 2012, when Little was found at a homeless shelter in Louisville, Kentucky, after authorities used DNA testing to establish that he was involved in the murder of Carol Elford, killed on July 13, 1987; Guadalupe Apodaca, killed on September 3, 1987; and Audrey Nelson, killed on August 14, 1989. All three women were killed and later found on the streets of Los Angeles.
Now the one time boxer, who was feared by all who shared a cell with him, is wheelchair bound and suffers from diabetes and has a heart condition.
"In my opinion part of the reason for the confessions is his condition, and part notoriety — he didn’t want to die without someone knowing what he did,” Reedy said. “Perhaps he has some remorse, but it’s not like remorse you or I would have.
“According to him he liked Nancy, and his relationship with her was about two weeks. But certain things set him off. I think he knows the difference between right and wrong — he just looks at things very differently. I wish I had gotten to interview him more, because of my job. It helps in my line of work to try to understand what goes on in the mind of a person like that.”
Little, 78, has been moved from Texas back to California State Prison, Los Angeles County where he is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Because of his age and condition it’s doubtful he will ever face the charges for the Nancy Stevens killing.
Publisher’s Note: The Courier appreciates Lt. Scotty Reedy and Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson for granting this exclusive interview. Thank you. Jim Clark Publisher