DATING GAME KILLER: The Diabolical Crimes of Rodney Alcala


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In the end, it wasn’t a cop’s needle, electric chair, gas chamber, or bullet that sent the Dating Game Killer to the morgue.


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It was genes and time. Less satisfying, but still permanent.

Rodney Alcala was best known as the Dating Game Killer. The sadistic monster died last week in a California prison hospital at the age of 77.

Officials said these were natural causes.

“I’m glad he’s dead. Rodney Alcala is a monster, and if there is hell, he’s in the deepest, darkest part right now, ”former Orange County Assistant District Attorney Matt Murphy said. “I heard he has a pacemaker and has dementia.

Murphy added, “I just hope it was painful.”

More victims?
More victims? Photo by DOCUMENT /LAPD


Alcala was born Rodrigo Jacques Alcala Buquor in San Antonio, Texas, in 1943. His family then moved to Mexico, where his father abandoned them.

Her mother would seek a better life in Los Angeles for herself and her children. Little is known about the young Rodrigo other than his enlistment in the United States Army in 1961 followed by an honorable release in 1964 after what has been described as a nervous breakdown.


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Murder victim Robin Samsoe, 12, and Alcala.
Murder victim Robin Samsoe, 12, and Alcala. Photo by DOCUMENT /HUNTINGTON BEACH PD


Alcala was sentenced to death in Orange County for the murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe in 1979. The verdict was overturned several times before it was ultimately blocked.

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In 2010, Alcala was convicted of five counts of first degree murder and sentenced to death for the murder of Samsoe as well as the 1977 murder of 18-year-old Jill Barcomb; nurse Georgia Wixted, 27, and legal secretary Charlotte Lamb, 32, in 1978, and the 1979 murder of computer programmer Jill Parenteau, 21.

He was also convicted of two murders in New York in the early 1970s. Cops fear that there may be as many as 100 more victims of the homicidal maniac in California, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, in New Hampshire, Arizona and all points in between.


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In 1977, his California parole officer allowed Alcala – who changed his name to John Berger – to travel to New York City to visit his family. A week later, the young socialite and piano virtuoso Ellen Jane Hoover disappeared.

Was it a coincidence that she had scrawled “John Berger” – Alcala’s alias – on her calendar the day she disappeared?


Alcala – with his wild face of poodle-like locks and bizarre courtroom antics – rose to the serial killer rankings when he appeared in the 1970s favorite of the day, The dating game.

In 1978, the Daily Cheesefest was one of the most popular game shows on television.

That year, candidate Cheryl Bradshaw actually refused to date the man she had chosen as a date. There was something scary about date one, she decided. Alcala had won her affection with his jokes about entertaining her at a dinner party.


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Alcala had always been sure he was the smartest guy in the room. He spent his time in prison studying law and writing You, the Jury, a book claiming his innocence. He also sued the California prison system for not giving him a low-fat diet and loudly complained about having to give oral DNA swabs for police comparison with unsolved crimes.

His DNA has linked him to a litany of unsolved homicides, including those that led to him being sentenced to death.


In a Seattle storage locker rented in Alcala’s name, cops found evidence linking him to other murders – and hundreds of photos he had taken of young girls. Investigators found the gold ball earrings worn by Robin and pink earrings which were later verified as belonging to Charlotte Lamb.

Rodney James Alcala is pictured in a prison photo taken on September 2, 1997.
Rodney James Alcala is pictured in a prison photo taken on September 2, 1997. Photo of San Quentin State Prison / California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation /via Wikipedia


During his trial he showed the jury his precious The dating game images. It didn’t matter.

Almost everyone wanted Rodney Alcala strapped to a stretcher with oblivion the ultimate destination. Or hell.




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