Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Rodney Alcala: Extreme Serial Killer


During "Dating Game Killer" Rodney Alcala's 2010 trial, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy called Alcala a monster and said he deserved to die. He told the jury that Alcala was a hunter who stalked and killed his prey simply because "he liked it." Murphy alleged that Alcala would strangle victims with his bare hands until they passed out; when they came to, he'd strangle them again with pantyhose or shoe laces. Once they were dead, he'd pose their bodies and take pictures.

On February 25, 2010, a third jury found "Dating Game Killer" Rodney Alcala guilty of the 1979 murder and kidnapping of Huntington Beach ballerina Robin Samsoe, 12. They also finally found him guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of four adult women, Jill Barcomb, Georgia Wixted, Charlotte Lamb and Jill Parenteau. On March 30, 2010, Judge Francisco Briseno sentenced him to death for the crimes.

It was Alcala's third death sentence; the verdicts in his other two trials for Samsoe's murder were overturned. If third time's the charm, maybe the sentence will stick this time. But the haunting contents of Alcala's Seattle storage locker have left Huntington Beach police fearing that this fiend's crimes weren't limited to the deadly sexual assaults in southern California for which this trial has hopefully finally brought justice.

Actress, Charlize Theron
Actress, Charlize Theron

Unsurprisingly, the trial was a circus. Alcala defended himself. Judge Briseno had to speak privately with Alcala numerous times throughout the proceedings to explain basic legal terms to him and to curb the 66-year-old's theatrics.

Not only the victims' families watched the proceedings: also attending the trial was Charlize Theron, the South African actress who played serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster.

New forensic evidence buttressing the charges against Alcala for his crimes against the women was supplemented by testimony from two other victims whom he'd long been convicted and sentenced for assaulting. He'd picked up Monique H. to take photographs, brought her to a secluded rural area, then beat, sodomized and raped her.

Alcala did what he could to evade the charges and their penalty. Early in the trial, he showed a clip from his winning 1978 appearance on television's Dating Game, claiming that it showed him already wearing the earrings that supposedly tied him to the Samsoe murder. Jurors seem to have had trouble making out the earrings in the grainy footage. They weren't convinced by his defense.


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