Rodney Alcala was a vicious, cold hearted, murderer. The senseless acts of violence he committed left the country in a state of shock.
For more than 40 years he roamed the country violently murdering women both young and old but even today, many wonder why it took over 30 years to put this serial murderer in prison.
In 1968, a disgusting crime took place in California, shaking the city of West Hollywood. An eight-year-old girl was lured into an apartment where she was raped and beat senseless by a man named Rodney Alcala. The rapist immediately fled the state and started his life as a man on the run. Alcala then joined film school in New York under an alias.
Investigators worked tirelessly to capture the man who committed this heinous crime. They knew who owned the apartment where the crime took place, however, he was nowhere to be found. And so the search began.
Three years after the rape of the young girl, Alcala was added to the FBI’s most wanted list. At the time, he was working at a children’s art camp in New Hampshire. Two of the young children recognized his face from the most wanted list and reported him to the police.
Within days Alcala was arrested and extradited back to the state of California. Authorities were looking to press charges against him where, if convicted, he would spend the rest of his life in prison. The family of the young girl however, prevented this from happening…
The rape and beating of the young girl destroyed her family. They quickly uprooted from California and moved back to Mexico. When authorities contacted them to let them know the man was in custody, they refused to come home and have their daughter testify. Without her testimony, there was no case.
Without a testimony from the victim, the state could not charge Alcala with what he truly deserved. Instead, they were forced to let him walk out of the court room with a minor assault charge.
Alcala moved on with his life passed his assault charge, narrowly avoiding a long prison sentence. He got a job as a typewriter for the Los Angeles Times. In his spare time, he worked to convince people that he was a fashion photographer. He persuaded hundreds of aspiring models to pose for him.
Alcala, also known as the ‘Dating Game Killer’ earned his nickname from the television show he appeared on. Despite his criminal record, the television show accepted his application and had him appear as a contested. To his surprise, he won the show…
According to court documents today, by the time that Alcala had won the television show, he had already committed four murders, unbeknownst to authorities at the time. When he won the show, bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw refused his advances for a date. She told her friends that he seemed very creepy, and had an intuition that just did not feel right.
Shortly after the show, Alcala committed another murder. This time, it was a 12-year-old girl named Robin Samsoe. When she went missing, authorities questioned her friends. The girls said that a creepy man had come up to them recently and asked to take their picture. Police asked the girls to describe the man to a sketch artist.
The sketch artist drew up a photo of the man and showed it to police. Alcala’s perole officer instantly recognized him from the sketch. Alcala was arrested on July 24, 1979. Police also received a search warrant allowing them to search his mother’s house where they found a receipt for a storage locker nearby.
Police raided the storage locker as quickly as possible. In the locker, they found hundreds of provocative pictures of young boys and girls. Additionally, they found the piece of evidence they had finally been searching for. They found Robin Samsoe’s earrings…
Alcala awaited trial in prison. If convicted, he knew he would be spending the rest of his life behind bars. Prosecutors however wanted more than just a life sentence, they wanted the death penalty.
Once again, Alcala almost averted conviction. In 1980, the California Supreme Court tossed Alcala’s conviction out. They said the jury had been made privy to Alcala’s previous sexual offenses, which could affect their judgement.
In 1986, once again, the justice system failed the victims. The Ninth Circuit Court of appeals claimed that the police department used hypnosis on a witness. They argued this hypnosis convinced jury members Alcala was guilty. They once again threw out his conviction.
There are only so many times prosecution can be evaded. Eventually, Alcala was going to be forced to serve time for the horrific crimes he committed. Evolving technology finally lead to justice being served…
Alcala waited in prison for another trial, in hopes of a different outcome. While he was waiting trial, investigators were busy gathering up samples of his DNA. They planned on comparing it to DNA found on the victims.
The DNA, not to the detective’s surprise, was found to be a match. In 2010, Alcala was tried for the murder of five people. He was finally convicted and sentenced to the death penalty.
During Alcala’s prison sentence, he wrote a book called, You, The Jury. In the book, he professes his innocence in the Samsoe case. He also claims there are faults in the way the authorities gather DNA from the inmates. During his prison sentence, Alcala also pressed charges against California’s penal system. He sued them for a slip and fall incident, and also for the fact that the prison would not provide him with a low-fat diet. Neither of these charges were won.
Alcala, who has been compared to notorious killer Ted Bundy for his sadistic tendencies, is estimated to have murdered up to 130 women. Although the exact number is still unknown. documents suggest he was at the peak of his killing spree during the show’s filming. Alcala would strangle his victims until they passed out, then resuscitate them, before torturing them within an inch of their life. Police came to identify his victims, as he would often bite his victims’ bodies, and keep photographs of them in explicit poses.