Infamous serial killer Rodney James Alcala has died at 77, dying from natural causes while sitting on death row in California. Alcala is best known as The Dating Game Killer due to his appearance as a contestant on The Dating Game in 1978, well in the middle of his killing spree.
Alcala's series of murders stretched across the nation, linking slayings in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, New Hampshire and Arizona. He was initially sentenced to death in Orange County in 1980 for the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe. This judgment was reversed in 1984, with Alcala receiving a new trial in 1986 where he was sentenced to death again.
This sentence was appealed in 2003, opening the door for a third trial and more charges after DNA evidence connected him to four other women. 2010 saw Alcala eventually convicted of five counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for a third time, adding the deaths of 18-year-old Jill Barcomb, 27-year-old Georgia Wixted, 32-year-old Charlotte Lamb and 21-year-old Jill Parenteau.
Alcala was also extradited to New York for the 1971 murder of Cornelia Crilley and the murder of Ellen Jane Hover in 1977. This followed by charges in Wyoming related to the murder of Christine Ruth Thornton in 1978 while she was six months pregnant.
A final photo of Alcala included with the announcement by the California Department of Corrections shows him without his notable long hair, instead sporting a brush cut and mustache, far from the smiling face featured on The Dating Game.
In 2010, police released photos seized from Alcala in the hopes that someone in the public can help identify possible victims. According to NBC News, police said they were "overwhelmed" with tips at the time. The photos featured women and young men, sometimes in suggestive poses, and raised suspicions due to Alcala's use of a camera when involved in the murders.
"The first thing is, 'Oh, my God, I hope these girls are OK,' and the next thing is, 'I wonder if any of them are victims.' Everyone has that question," prosecutor Matt Murphy said (Via NBC). "I can't imagine for a million years that we've got him for the only murders he's done."