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Infamous 'Dating Game Killer' Rodney Alcala Dies Of Natural Causes

CORCORAN (CBS SF) -- Condemned inmate Rodney James Alcala, an infamous serial slayer known as the 'Dating Game Killer,' has died of natural causes. He was 77 years old.

State prison officials said Alcala died at 1:43 a.m. at a Kings County hospital.

Alcala was given the nickname of the "Dating Game Killer" because he was a contestant on the popular dating television show in 1978.

He was sentenced to death in Orange County for the 1979 kidnap and murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, but that judgment was reversed in 1984 by the California Supreme Court and Alcala was granted a new trial.

In 1986, Alcala was sentenced to death a second time for Samsoe's murder. However, a federal appeals court in 2003 overturned the sentence and Alcala was given yet another new trial.

During the ensuing years, investigators discovered his DNA matched evidence in other murders. Orange County prosecutors indicted Alcala for the murders of four other women.

In 2010, an Orange County jury convicted Alcala of five counts of first-degree murder and he was sentenced to death for the killing of Samsoe as well as the 1977 deaths of 18-year-old Jill Barcomb and 27-year-old Georgia Wixted; the 1978 death of 32-year-old Charlotte Lamb, and the 1979 death of 21-year-old Jill Parenteau.

In 2012, Alcala was extradited to New York after he was indicted for the 1971 murder of Cornelia Crilley and the 1977 murder of Ellen Jane Hover. He pleaded guilty and in 2013 was sentenced in New York to 25 years to life.

In 2016, prosecutors in Wyoming charged Alcala with the murder of Christine Ruth Thornton, 28, who disappeared in 1978 and whose body was found in 1982. She was six months pregnant.

Investigators have either suspected Alcala of or linked him to the murder of Pamela Lambson in the San Francisco Bay Area in the fall of 1977 and also other slayings in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, New Hampshire and Arizona.

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