Sixteen years ago, local defense attorney Matthew Hawkins took on a client accused of shoplifting. What would not come to light until later on: He was representing a suspected serial killer.
Samuel Little, 78, is said to be connected with at least 90 murders across the nation. In July, Little was extradited from California to Odessa to stand trial for a 1994 murder. However, in 2006, he was sitting in the Lubbock County Courthouse, facing theft charges. Hawkins said he was Little’s court-appointed lawyer in the case.
“If you asked me about the short period of time I had him as a client, I would have never had said that man was a killer. He just seemed like an average normal person,” said Hawkins. “He didn’t have any crazy traits that was like ‘Wooh, that man was kind of scary.”
Little pleaded guilty and served 14 days in Lubbock County Jail for shoplifting.
The police report said he took a kitchen knife off the shelf and then took it out of its package. He used the knife to open DVD cases, according to the report. He covered the items in the basket with toilet paper and bags and then “walked past all cashiers and exited the store, making no attempt to pay for the items.”
“Just very shocking. We represented a client who did something so simple. Turns out he does some apparently very bad things,” said Hawkins.
As a defense attorney, Hawkins said they deal with everything from petty crime to murder, and he has to trust his clients are telling the truth.
“I have been here about 16 years, but you handle the stress. You do more difficult cases, so it just comes with the territory. You try to do the best you can, you don’t want a bad result,” he said.
When EverythingLubbock.com asked him how long this would weigh on his mind, he said, “Probably a good while. Like I said, you can’t always pick out who’s going to be a murderer.”
Lubbock Police commented on the matter, stating:
“Lubbock Police Department investigators are aware of Samuel Little. They will look at unsolved cases during the time frame he is suspected of living in the Lubbock area to see if there are any connections.”