For four decades, victims have waited for justice for one of the most sadistic and prolific serial killers in American history.
The death last week of Rodney James Alcala, 77, in a California hospital has been hailed by victim advocates, though many viewed Alcala’s disappearance as a travesty of the state’s toothless death penalty.
CORCORAN PRISON IN CALIFORNIA IS A WHO’S WHO OF SERIAL KILLERS
Jurors have three times ordered the execution of Alcala, who was convicted of murdering four women and a 12-year-old girl in California in the 1970s but reportedly killing many more.
“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, ”said former Orange County Assistant District Attorney Matt Murphy, who Alcala sued in his last trial. “I heard he has a pacemaker and has dementia.”
“I just hope it was painful.”
Assistant District Attorney Matt Murphy in court. H. Lorren Au Jr./AP
Even after his conviction, Alcala refused to disclose any clues to hundreds of unidentified female photographs found in a Seattle storage locker he had rented. Authorities have long believed that many of the girls and women in the photos were Alcala’s victims.
“While I consider it rude to speak ill of the dead, his stint at the gates of hell will be a well-deserved trip,” Bruce Barcomb wrote on Facebook. Alcala was found guilty of killing Barcomb’s sister, Jill Barcomb.
“This sociopath has chosen not to work with the authorities for the betterment of society and its victims. CAN HE NOT RIP.”
Like Alcala, the other torture killers Richard “Night Stalker” Ramirez and Lonnie “Grim Sleeper” Franklin died of natural causes on death row. By some estimates, the trio killed more than 200 people – just to avoid the gallows.
Even though voters twice confirmed the death penalty voting measures, the state’s last execution took place in 2006. Current Governor Gavin Newsom imposed a moratorium on executions immediately after taking office in 2019.
“There really is no death penalty in the state of California – between the 9th Circuit, the circuit and federal judges, the current governor and the weak anti-death penalty attorneys general,” said Steve Cooley , who has served as a Los Angeles County District Attorney since 2000-2012. “Someone like Alcala has escaped true justice.”
Alcala, who was known as “The Dating Game Killer” for an appearance on the 1970s game show, has frustrated the police, victims and the judiciary itself over the course of her life.
Assistant District Attorney Matt Murphy reacts calmly after the jury recommended death in the sentencing phase of the trial for convicted serial killer Rodney James Alcala on Tuesday afternoon March 9, 2010 in Santa Ana, California. Relatives of four women and a 12-year-old girl who were brutally killed in the late 1970s exploded into applause on Tuesday as the jury recommended the death of Rodney Alcala, a convicted serial killer whose strategy of bizarre defense included lyrics from a song by Arlo Guthrie and showing an episode of “The Dating Game”. (AP Photo / Sam Gangwer, Pool) SAM GANGWER / ASSOCIATE PRESS
Her first verified victim was Tali Shapiro, 8, in 1968 in Los Angeles, who was raped and almost beaten to death with a steel bar. He fled to New Hampshire and was captured when alert teens saw Alcala’s photo on a poster of the FBI’s Most Wanted List. He worked as a day camp counselor for girls.
Retired LAPD homicide detective Steve Hodel remembers bringing Alcala back to Los Angeles, where he was convicted in 1972 of attacking Shapiro.
Rodney Alcala California Dept. of Corrections
“No problem, he’s off the street for at least 15-20 [years], Hodel said he remembered thinking. But less than two years later, a prison psychologist determined that Alcala was no longer a danger to society. He was released and quickly started a murderous spree that lasted until his arrest in 1979.
Alcala’s modus operandi was to tell young women and girls that he was a professional photographer to persuade them to pose for him. Murphy said Alcala would beat them and usually suffocate them until they passed out. When they regained consciousness, he would repeat the process for hours until they eventually killed them.
Her latest victim was Robin Samsoe, a 12-year-old girl from Huntington Beach who went missing on her way to a ballet class. His friends told police that a stranger asked to have their photos taken, and a sketch made from their descriptions led the police to Alcala and the storage locker.
Alcala was convicted and sentenced to death in 1980, which was overturned by the California Supreme Court. He ruled that jurors had been improperly informed of a murder in New York, evidence that would be admissible today.
In a retrial in 1986, Alcala was again convicted and sentenced to death. But the 9th Circuit appeals court overturned the case because jurors had not been made aware of Alcala’s claims that he was 10 miles away when Samsoe’s murder occurred, he said. Murphy said.
Orange County requested a third trial in 2003, adding four more victims in Los Angeles based on newly discovered DNA evidence. Alcala’s lawyer fought the new case all the way to the state’s Supreme Court, and the trial did not begin until 2010 – Alcala acting as his own lawyer, to the horror of victims compelled to him speak from the witness stand.
The jury found Alcala guilty of all five murders and in March 2010 he was again sentenced to death. Murphy did what no other prosecutor could: he enforced the sentence.
Like 700 other detainees, Alcala was awaiting execution when Newsom suspended the death penalty.
Rodney Alcala final photo California Dept. of Corrections
“No one takes into account what these families are going through while these guys are on death row and nothing is happening,” Murphy said. “For someone to be there, it’s not normal murder. The crimes are horribly horrific, and there’s no doubt they did.”
Two years after his last conviction, Alcala pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a flight attendant and heiress in New York City. And in 2016, Wyoming prosecutors charged Alcala with murdering a pregnant woman in the desert based on photographs in her storage locker. The photos remain in the custody of Huntington Beach Police and are considered open files.
“He was a real monster,” Hodel said. “He was an extreme sadist and loved to put his hands to torture people. They are no worse than him, so I am relieved that his presence is no longer on this Earth.
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Shapiro agreed the world is a better place with Alcala’s death, even though he was not executed.
“At least he suffered in a not-so-beautiful prison,” she said. “Karma is ab ****.”
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Key words: News, Murder, California, Death Sentence, Crime, Crime History
Original author: Tori richards
Original location: Death of serial killer from dating game Rodney Alcala acclaimed by prosecutors and survivors