The ‘Dating Game Killer’ Rodney Alcala, 77, died on Saturday of natural causes while awaiting a death sentence in a California prison. Pictured on his death bed
Convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala, 77, died of natural causes in a California hospital on Saturday at 1:43 am, according to California prison officials.
He was awaiting a death sentence at Corcoran State Prison.
Alcala was convicted of killing seven women in the 1970s, with five murders in California and two in New York. His youngest murder victim was just 12-years-old, whom he abducted as she made her way to ballet practice in Los Angeles in 1979.
He later earned the moniker ‘the Dating Game Killer’, and was known for biting his dead victims’ naked bodies before photographing them in sexually explicit poses.
He has been linked to over 130 women and children’s deaths, although his exact number of victims remains unknown.
Alcala appeared as Bachelor Number One on the show winning the affections of bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw
Alcala pictured during his third trial in the early 2000s, after appealing his murder charge in the death of a 12-year-old girl
Alcala’s first known committed crime occurred in 1968, when an eye-witness called police after seeing him lure an eight-year-old girl named Tali Shapiro into his Hollywood apartment.
When police arrived, they found Talia alive but she had been raped and brutally beaten with a steel bar and was laying in a pool of her own blood.
Alcala had fled the scene and later left the state, enrolling in NYU to study film under Roman Polanski, under the pseudonym ‘John Berger’.
In June 1971, 23-year-old TWA flight attendant Cornelia Michel Crilley was found raped and strangled in her Manhattan apartment. Her death would go unsolved until 2011 when DNA evidence linked Alcala to the killing.
In the meantime, Alcala was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list that same year. He was arrested within months after children at a New Hampshire arts camp where he was working as a counselor recognized his image on a wanted poster.
He was extradited back to California to face trial for attempted murder, but Shapiro’s parents refused to let the girl testify at trial and he later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault, securing parole after just 17 months in 1974.
During the episode, Bradshaw had asked questions such as, ‘What’s your best time?’ and ‘I’m serving you for dinner. What are you called and what do you look like?’ Alcala responded to the last question by replying, ‘I’m called the banana and I look good’
Bradshaw ended up choosing Alcala at the end of the show, but she later backed out of their scheduled date – tennis lessons and a trip to Magic Mountain – because she got an uneasy feeling from him
Billing himself as a professional fashion photographer, Alcala, who is said to have an IQ above 160, convinced hundreds of young men and women to pose naked for him for his ‘portfolio’.
He would also often lure in his murder victims the same way, before strangling them until they passed out. When they’d reawaken, he’d begin torturing them by raping and beating them within an inch of their lives.
Alcala would then kill them, often by strangulation, then rearrange their limbs into explicit positions and photograph their naked bodies.
He was eventually detained for the final time in 1979, after murdering 12-year-old Robin Samsoe.
Alcala reportedly encountered blonde-haired Samsoe on the beach in Los Angeles with her friend Bridget Wilvurt and approached them.
Bridget later explained: ‘He honed in on us, like a shark in the water… and he goes, “Can I take your girls’ pictures?” … And Robin goes, “Sure.”’
Alcala later left the girls alone but Robin later rode off on her bike to a ballet studio where she was due for practice.
She never turned up and no one ever saw her alive again.
Samsoe was on her way to ballet class when she was abducted
Georgia Wixted, 27, was a registered nurse whose bruised and battered body was found on the floor of her Malibu studio apartment near her brass bed on December 16, 1977
The American serial killer is believed to be connected to crimes in New York, Washington, San Francisco, and Wyoming
Alcala compiled a collection of more than 1,000 photographs of women and teenage girls and boys, many in sexually explicit poses.
As part of their probe, investigators found hundreds of pictures of young boys and girls in a Seattle storage locker rented by Alcala.
Some were released by the Huntington Beach Police Department in 2010 amid fears those depicted may have been additional cold case victims from unsolved disappearances or murders.
Among the photographs were also a series of trophies from some of his victims, such as jewelry, including a pair of gold earrings that matched the description of those worn by Robin on the day she disappeared.
Four years after he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, he appealed his case and won a new trial. He was later tried and convicted again, receiving the death sentence for a second time.
He launched a second successful appeal in 2001 and went for trial a third time.
When prosecutor Matt Murphy took up the case in 2003, he reexamined the evidence found at Alcala’s storage locker for DNA.
Alcala was incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison as his execution was postponed indefinitely because of a moratorium on the death penalty instituted by California State in 2019
Police believe he could be connected up to 130 killings of women and children but the exact number of his victims is not known
Some of the DNA unearthed matched that of four other woman who were either found dead or disappeared during the 1970s, confirming Alcala to be a serial killer.
One of the victims was 19-year-old Jill Barcomb, whose body was found at the side of a road in Los Angeles in 1977, having had her face mutilated and with ligatures around her neck.
Alcala was also found to have murdered 27-year-old nurse Georgia Wixted who was found naked an brutalized in Malibu in 1977; Charlotte Lamb, whose body was found strangled and raped in an apartment complex miles away from her home in June 1978; and Jill Parenteau, a 21-year-old college student who was found raped and murdered in her bedroom in June 1979.
Alcala was convicted of those women’s murders in 2010, then 66, and sentenced to death.
He later pleaded guilty to two more murders in New York City in 1977 and 1978, and then later charged in 2016 with the murder of Christine Thornton in the summer of 1977. He denies murdering Thornton.