‘Dating Game Killer’ dies in California awaiting execution | California

A prolific murderer who became known as “the dating game killerdied Saturday awaiting execution in California, authorities said.

Rodney James Alcala was 77 years old. He died of natural causes at a hospital in San Joaquin Valley, California, prison officials said.

Alcala was sentenced to death in 2010 for five murders in California between 1977 and 1979, including that of a 12-year-old girl. Authorities believe he may have killed up to 130 people across the United States.

He received an additional 25 years to life in 2013 after pleading guilty to two homicides in New York. He was charged again in 2016 after DNA evidence linked him to the 1977 death of a 28-year-old woman whose remains were found in a remote area of ​​Wyoming. A prosecutor said Alcala was too ill to stand trial in the death of the woman, who was six months pregnant.

California’s death row is at San Quentin State Prison, near San Francisco, but for years Alcala was held more than 200 miles away in a Corcoran prison where he could receive 24-hour medical care. Governor Gavin Newsom has imposed a moratorium on executions while he is governor.

Prosecutors said Alcala stalked women and took earrings as trophies from some.

“You’re talking about a guy hunting in Southern California looking for people to kill because he likes it,” Orange County District Attorney Matt Murphy said during Alcala’s trial.

Robin Samsoe’s mother, 12, testified at Alcala’s murder trial that a pair of gold ball earrings found in her storage locker belonged to her daughter.

Alcala claimed the earrings were hers and a clip from her 1978 appearance on The Dating Game showed him wearing the nails nearly a year before Samsoe’s death. He denied the murders and cited inconsistencies in testimonies.

California prosecutors said Alcala took earrings from at least two of his adult victims as trophies. All were strangled and resuscitated multiple times, they said. Investigators said a victim’s DNA was found on a rose-shaped earring in Alcala’s possession, and that his DNA was found in his body.

He has already been sentenced to death twice in the Samsoe murder, but both convictions were overturned. More than two decades later, he was also charged with the murders of the four adult women, based on new DNA and other forensic evidence.

After the verdict, authorities released more than 100 photos of young women and girls found in possession of Alcala, in an attempt to link him to unsolved murders in the United States.

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