A convicted serial killer known as the “Dating Game Killer” died early Saturday morning at a hospital near Corcoran State Prison in central California, prison officials said.
Rodney James Alcala, 77, had been on the state’s death row since being condemned in 2010 for the murders of four women and a 12-year-old girl, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Alcala was first sentenced to death in 1980 for the 1979 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, but his conviction was reversed by the California Supreme Court and he was granted a new trial.
He was sentenced to death again in 1986 after a second trial, but that sentence was overturned by a federal appeals court in 2003 and a third trial was granted.
By the time of his third trial in 2010, Alcala’s DNA had been connected to four other homicides and an Orange County jury convicted him of five counts of first-degree murder.
He was sentenced to death a third time for Samsoe’s murder and for the 1977 deaths of 18-year-old Jill Barcomb and 27-year-old Georgia Wixted; the 1978 death of 32-year-old Charlotte Lamb, and the 1979 death of 21-year-old Jill Parenteau.
After Alcala’s conviction, authorities released more than 100 photos of unidentified women and children found in a storage unit that belonged to the killer in an attempt to find out if there were further victims. Robin Samsoe’s earrings had been found in the same unit.
In 2012, Alcala was indicted in New York for the 1971 killing of Cornelia Crilley and the 1977 killing of Ellen Jane Hover. After he was extradited, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2013 to 25 years to life.
Investigators considered him a suspect or linked him to other deaths in four other states, according to the California corrections department.
He became known as the “Dating Game Killer” because he had been a contestant on “The Dating Game” in 1978, although none of his victims had any connection to the game show.
Alcala was introduced on the show as a “successful photographer” who might also be found sky diving or motorcycling. He had already been convicted in the 1968 rape of an 8-year-old girl and served a 34-month sentence, authorities said.
Fellow contestant Jed Mills later said, “He was creepy. Definitely creepy.”
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