Serial killer Rodney Alcala, ‘the dating game killer,’ dies of natural causes on death row

Serial killer Rodney Alcala died aged 77 of natural causes Saturday while awaiting execution, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced.

Alcala was nicknamed the “Dating Game Killer” because of his appearance on the show in 1978. Alcala was convicted in 2010. He was chosen to be a contestant despite having already served two prison sentences — one for assaulting 8-year-old Tali Shapiro in 1968 and the other for assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 1974, and being a registered sex offender. He was introduced on the program as a “photographer” and managed to win.

In addition to the California killings, he had also pleaded guilty to the murders of two other women in New York. Alcala was first handed the death penalty in Orange County in 1980 for the kidnap and murder of Robin Samsoe, 12, in Los Angeles the previous year.  However, his sentence was overturned by the California Supreme Court and he was granted a new trial. He later received the same penalty in the second trial, but this was again overturned in 2003.

In September 1978, Alcala took part in The Dating Game, an American TV show in which a single woman questioned three single men hidden from her view before selecting one based on their answers. Alcala was selected at the end of show, but the woman later said she decided not to date him after a conversation with him backstage, describing him as “creepy.”

California state prison officials made a statement on Saturday where they said that they suspected Alcala was involved in other killings. No further details have been released about Alcala’s death at this stage.



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