A serial killer on death row in California died of natural causes at the age of 77 in the early hours of Saturday morning, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced.
Rodney James Alcala, who was known as “The Dating Game Killer” after appearing on the television show “The Dating Game” in 1978, has been suspected or linked to dozens of murders in California, Washington, New York, New Hampshire, Wyoming, and Arizona.
He was originally arrested and sentenced to death in 1980 for murdering 12-year-old Robin Samsoe in 1979. The California Supreme Court reversed that sentence in 1984, but Alcala was sentenced to death again in 1986 after a second trial. Then in 2003, a federal appeals court overturned his sentence again, giving him another trial.
By this time, Alcala’s DNA was matched to the murders of four other women and he was convicted on five counts of first-degree murder in 2010.
“You’re talking about a guy who is hunting through Southern California looking for people to kill because he enjoys it,” Matt Murphy, the prosecutor in the case, said at trial.
Rodney James Alcala, a serial killer who appeared on the television show “The Dating Game” in 1978, died of natural causes at the age of 77 on Saturday morning, prison officials said.
((AP Photo/David Handschuh, Pool, File))
Alcala also pleaded guilty in 2013 to murdering two women in New York in the 1970s, for which he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Wyoming prosecutors also charged Alcala in 2016 in the 1978 murder of 28-year-old Christine Ruth Thornton, who was six months pregnant at the time.
Alcala is suspected in up to 130 murders.
There are more than 700 men and women on California’s death row, but the state hasn’t executed anyone since 2006 and California Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed a moratorium on the punishment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.