Rodney James Alcala, dubbed the 'Dating Game Killer,' dies in a California prison.
A prolific serial torturer dubbed The Dating Game Killer has died in California while awaiting execution. Rodney James Alcala died at the age of 77.
He died of natural causes on Saturday at a hospital in California's San Joaquin Valley, prison officials said in a statement.
Alcala was sentenced to death in 2010 for five slayings in California between 1977 and 1979, including one of a 12-year-old girl, though authorities believe he may have murdered up to 130 people across the country.
Alcala was sentenced to an additional 25 years to life in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty in New York to two homicides.
He was charged again in 2016 following the discovery of the remains of a 28-year-old woman in a remote area of southwest Wyoming in 1977.
However, a prosecutor stated that Alcala was too ill to stand trial in the woman's death, who was six months pregnant at the time.
California's death row is located at San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco, but Alcala had been housed at a prison in Corcoran for years, where he could receive round-the-clock medical care.
Prosecutors allege that Alcala stalked women like prey and took earrings from several of his victims as trophies.
“You're talking about a guy who is going through Southern California looking for people to kill for the sheer enjoyment of it,” Orange County, California, prosecutor Matt Murphy stated during the defendant's trial.
According to investigators, the true number of his victims may never be known.
Earrings aided in his conviction for capital murder, despite the fact that Governor Gavin Newsom has imposed a moratorium on executions for the duration of his governorship.
At Robin Samsoe's murder trial, her mother testified that a pair of gold ball earrings discovered in a jewellery pouch in Alcala's storage locker belonged to her daughter.
Alcala, on the other hand, claimed ownership of the earrings and that a video clip from his 1978 appearance on The Dating Game shows him wearing them nearly a year before Samsoe died. He denied the murders and cited inconsistencies in witness testimony and descriptions.
Prosecutors in California allege that Alcala also used at least two of his adult victims' earrings as trophies.
Prosecutors said two of the four women were photographed naked following their deaths, one was raped with a claw hammer, and all were repeatedly strangled and resuscitated to prolong their agony.
According to investigators, one victim's DNA was discovered on a rose-shaped earring in Alcala's possession, and another victim's DNA was discovered in her body.
He had previously been sentenced to death for Samsoe's murder, but both convictions were vacated. He was charged with the murders of the four adult women more than two decades later, based on newly discovered DNA and other forensic evidence.
Following the verdict, authorities released over 100 photographs of young women and girls discovered in Alcala's possession in an attempt to connect him to other unsolved murders across the country.
“There is murder and rape, and then there is the unmistakable carnage of a Rodney Alcala-style murder,” Bruce Barcomb, the brother of Jill Barcomb, 18, said as Alcala was sentenced to death.