A Florida man confessed to the 1991 murder of a waitress in a chance encounter at a bar, allegedly admitting that he killed her after having developed a “hatred for women,” officials said Tuesday.
Michael Townson, 53, confessed to killing Linda Little while he was serving a life sentence for the 2007 slaying of another woman, Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young told reporters.
A Volusia County grand jury indicted Townson on a charge of first-degree murder Monday, Young said.
Townson admitted to other killings in central Florida and Tennessee and is considered a suspected serial killer, Daytona Beach Police Detective Dave Dinardi said at a news conference.
Authorities are investigating those cases, and Towson has not been charged, Dinardi said.
Townson confessed to Little’s killing in 2020 after he “found God” and was transferred to a correctional facility in Volusia County, where Daytona Beach is located, Young said.
He told investigators that his father and a grandfather sexually abused him as a child, Young said. He blamed his mother and other women in his life for not protecting him, Young said, adding: "As a result, he developed a hatred for women."
Little, 43, a North Carolina native, had lived in the Daytona Beach area for two years and was working as a waitress when she vanished after her shift around 1 a.m. on Oct. 11, 1991, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
Little and Townson met at a hotel bar in Daytona Beach in what Dinardi called a "random meeting unfortunately on the wrong day at the wrong time," and "it appears Linda just met the wrong person."
"They were enjoying a few drinks," Dinardi said. "Something happened that in his words caused him to snap."
Little's body has not been found, Dinardi said. He declined to provide additional details about the killing or the investigation but said Townson shared details that led authorities to believe the confession was legitimate.
In 1991, Townson was living in Orlando and would travel to the area to visit the beach, Dinardi said.
Speaking at the news conference, Little's sister, Wanda Henson, expressed gratitude for the confession and said it provided closure.
"I know this is crazy," she said. "I really want to thank Townson for letting the family know what happened."
"I've forgiven him," she added.
In a separate case, Townson admitted to fatally bludgeoning a childhood friend, Sherri Carman, on Jan. 16, 2007, in Brevard County, court records show.
She was on a sofa in Townson's living room when he struck her with a heavy metal pipe and hammer, according to a transcript of Townson's plea and sentencing hearing.
Townson said he'd become furious with her because they had sex and she later told him she had AIDS, but an autopsy revealed she didn't have the virus, according to the transcript.
Townson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to the plea agreement.