Parole denied for vicious 1985 murder, sexual assault

Prosecutors secure third parole denial in murder, sexual assault case against Darrin Little

CENTRAL VALLEY – After Darrin Little stabbed one woman to death and beat, rape and sodomized another in 1985, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office continues to oppose his attempts at parole.

At a virtual hearing on Feb. 8, Tulare County District Attorney Office prosecutors secured a three year denial of parole for Little, 59, for murder and sexual assault. This was his third parole denial after he was sentenced to 46 years-to-life in prison in 1986. Little is currently serving a life sentence at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla. The District Attorney’s office regularly attends parole hearings and a Senior Deputy District Attorney argued against the inmate’s release in this case.

On the morning of May 2, 1985, first responders were dispatched to a structure fire at a residence on south Spruce Street in Tulare. When they arrived, the attic and roof of the residence were fully engulfed. Entering the residence through thick smoke, firefighters discovered the deceased victim, a woman, 56, naked in the hallway. When personnel examined her badly burned body, they discovered 15 stab wounds, including defensive wounds and a five-inch laceration to her throat. 

Though carbonaceous material was found in her lungs indicating she had breathed smoke, pathologists determined the cause of death to be excessive blood loss. The investigation did not yield any immediate leads. 

Later that month in Tulare, on May 24, 1985, an 81-year-old woman awoke to the sound of breaking glass in the late evening. After she got up to investigate, she discovered Little in her bathroom. She yelled at him to leave, but Little took her back to the bedroom, tied her hands and neck with pantyhose, and proceeded to beat, rape and sodomize her.

Following the sexual assaults, Little took the victim back to the bathroom where he made her lie down on her stomach. He then stomped on her back and struck her in her face until she lost consciousness. Little removed her rings from her fingers and stole $40 from her purse. During the commission of his crimes, Little took a break and made himself a frozen pizza and T.V. dinner. Before leaving the scene, Little drew a picture of a penis on the victim’s back and wrote “this was here.” The victim survived the assault. 

On June 4, 1985, Little was arrested by the Tulare Police Department for charges unrelated to the crimes he had committed. During the course of the interview, it became apparent to the Tulare Police Department that Little was a suspect in the murder. Tulare County Sheriff’s detectives were notified and questioned Little, who fully implicated himself in the crime. 

Little described his hostility towards women, including his victims, calling them “b—–” throughout the interview. Little admitted that, earlier in the day of the murder, he decided he was going to “get” the victim. He explained to detectives that while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he broke into the victim’s house. After grabbing a knife in the kitchen, he was confronted by the victim, who yelled at him to leave. Little slapped her, then stabbed her numerous times. He dragged her partly down the hallway, but became tired and went to sleep for an undetermined amount of time. When he awoke, he obtained a can of lighter fluid from the garage and used it to set the bedroom on fire. Little then went to a nearby Circle-K store and ultimately back to a friend’s house where he was staying, and washed his bloody clothes.

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