A 77-year-old inmate who spent time on California's death row for kidnapping and murdering a 12-year-old Huntington Beach girl and killing four other people died Saturday of natural causes, state officials said.
Rodney James Alcala died of natural causes at 1:43 a.m. at a hospital in the community near Corcoran State Prison, according to the California Department of Corrections.
Alcala, who appeared as a contestant on the television show “The Dating Game” in 1978. was sentenced to death in Orange County in 1980 for the 1979 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe. 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 a new trial. His DNA matched evidence in other murders, and 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.
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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.
According to the CDCR, investigators have either suspected Alcala of or linked him to other murders in Los Angeles and Marin County in California; Seattle, Washington; New York; New Hampshire and Arizona.
He appeared as a contestant on the television show “The Dating Game” in 1978.