Largo man seeks closure in wife's murder

Investigators are reopening 30-year old cold case

TAMPA - When Robert Kessinger heard that law enforcement might have a suspect in the murder of his wife 31 years ago, he admitted he thought he wouldn't live to see the day a killer was brought to justice.

But Kessinger said if he could confront the murderer, he would deliver his own version of justice.

"I'd probably break his neck," Kessinger said.  "It's just that plain and simple.  I'd break his neck."

Kimberly Kessinger, 21, vanished from Largo in May of 1982.  Days later, her body was recovered in a cemetery in Macon, Georgia.   Her husband will never forget the day he was notified of her death.

"They informed me that they had found her body and they wanted me to go up to identify her," Kessinger said, recalling the horrific nature of her death.

Samuel Little was living a short distance from where Kessinger's body was found.

Little, now 72, is awaiting trial in Los Angeles for the murders of two women who died in a similar fashion.  Those victims were found nude below the waist and strangled in what investigators believe was a sexually motivated murder.  DNA evidence linked him to the crimes, according to prosecutors.

Because of the nature of those deaths, law enforcement agencies in nine states are re-opening cold cases that could be tied to Little.  15 such cases are being reopened in Florida, with possibly more on the way.

"We will look back at our cold cases and look at the victims that we have to see if they match up to the type of victims that he targeted in the past," said Laura McElroy, a Tampa Police spokeswoman.

"There's always hope," said Kessinger.  But he's trying to stay realistic about the chances that Little is actually the killer.  

"It would be great, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting," Kessinger said.

FDLE agents said it could take at least 60-days before they get DNA results, with many months after that to build a murder case against LIttle.

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