The Truth About Jillian Lauren's Relationship With Sam Little

Samuel Little might be the most prolific serial killer in United States history. As BBC News reported, the murderer, who was born in 1940, was only convicted of and put behind bars for four murders. However, he claimed to have killed scores more than that, possibly as many as 93. Officially, prosecutors have linked him to at least 60 homicides, according to the Associated Press.

In the waning months of his life, before dying of complications of disease and old age in December 2020, Little made something of a friendship with New York reporter Jillian Lauren. Though she originally got to know the convicted killer for the sake of chasing the story, over the course of several prison visits, she came to know him as more than just a monster, but instead as the man behind the horrible crimes.

Here is the true story of the unlikely relationship between an ambitious journalist and the murderer she befriended.

She bribed him with snacks to get him talking

In August 2018, Lauren met Sam Little for the first time at California State Prison, Los Angeles County. As she wrote for The Cut, she learned of the murderer from a friend and decided to go to the prison in order to meet the man and chase the story.

"For reasons part professional and part personal ... I decided I'd try to get Little talking," she wrote.

However, by then Little was no longer the homicidal demon she might have feared. He was an ill, aged man, whom she guessed, correctly, might want a snack.

"I put [Little Debbies and Funyuns I'd bought] on the table between us as I sat down," she recalled.

Some months later, Lauren said, Little tried to convince his new friend to purchase a TV for him, in exchange for more of his stories, but the writer didn't take the bait. Little opened up anyway.

Samuel Little generally treated Jillian Lauren with respect

Over the course of their visits, the murderer and the journalist developed the unlikeliest of friendships. Indeed, the two developed something approaching a mutual respect for each other.

Indeed, Little was kind, jovial, friendly, and even slightly deferential to his new friend, often addressing her as "Little Miss," according to Lauren's The Cut article.

During one of their meetings, Lauren pointed out the elephant in the room: her interview subject loved murdering women and that she was a woman. Little, for his part, explained that she wasn't the type of woman he preferred to kill.

"I never killed nobody like my smart baby here. I never killed no senators or governors or fancy New York journalists," he said, in the process revealing that his preferred victims were drug addicts and sex workers.

What Little didn't know was that Lauren had been a sex worker, having been effectively a part of the harem of the Prince of Brunei for a period of time, as Oxygen reported.

Jillian Lauren overplayed her hand with Sam Little at least once

Though Jillian Lauren's relationship with Samuel Little was one of something approaching mutual respect, on at least one occasion the journalist appeared to cross a line with her subject.

As she wrote in The Cut, one day the pair's conversation turned to an uncomfortable subject: whether the murderer believed he needed to be punished for his crimes. Specifically, when asking about his capture, Little complained that he'd actually been set up by the LAPD. But Lauren pressed, asking Little if he did or did not kill those women.

"He laughed and shadowboxed, throwing mock punches an inch from my cheekbone. He liked to scare me a little when I stepped out of line," she said.

Eventually, when Lauren brought up the subject of laws and debts to society, Little clammed up.

"It was the wrong question ... when he looked back at me, it was with utter blankness," she wrote.

Their friendship ended when Sam Little died

By the autumn of 2020, Jillian Lauren suspected that her friend's days were coming to an end. In October of that year, she drove out to visit him for what she suspected — correctly, it turned out — would be her last visit with him.

In their last conversation, Little asked his friend if she judged him. She told him that she didn't.

"I ask God the same question all the time," he told her, before asking her to write him a letter if she ever "figure[d] it out."

Sam little died on December 30, 2020, as CBS News reported, likely from complications of diabetes and heart disease combined with his advanced age.

Lauren, according to her website, has written multiple books, including the forthcoming Behold the Monster, about her relationship with Little and his victims, whom she describes as "the women society forgot."

She also claimed on her website that, in a way, she may have been Little's final victim, in the sense that she, too, was at one time in her life a drug addict and a sex worker, not unlike his victims.