Alcala Sentenced to Death

"It sickens me it breaks my heart that his was the last face she saw"

Rodney Alcala was sentenced to death Tuesday for the slayings of a 12-year-old Huntington Beach  girl and four Los Angeles County women in the 1970s.

Orange County Judge Francisco Briseno, who by law had to make the sentence official, did not overrule a jury that recommended death last month.

Alcala was convicted Feb. 25 for the third time for killing Robin  Samsoe, who was abducted while riding her bike to a ballet class on June 20,  1979.

He was also convicted -- for the first time -- of killing Jill Barcomb,  an 18-year-old runaway slain in the Hollywood Hills on Nov. 10, 1977; Georgia  Wixted, a 27-year-old registered nurse killed on Dec. 16, 1978; Charlotte Lamb,  32, slain on June 24, 1978; and Jill Parenteau, 21, killed June 14, 1979.

Several of the victims' family members spoke after Tuesday's sentencing. Bruce Barcomb, the brother of victim Jill Barcomb, begged Alcala to admit to the murders to help family members heal.

"There is murder and rape and then there is the unequivicable carnage of a Rodney Alcala-style murder," he said. "Give up your debt Rodney: all victims, all states, all occurences. Own your truth."

Deedee Paranteau, Jill Paranteau's sister, added, "It sickens me it breaks my heart that his was the last face she saw... the face of a monster."

Robert Samsoe is the brother of Robin Samsoe.

"I hope you don't sleep at night," Robert Samsoe said to Alcala in court. "I hope you have dreams of us coming after you. Even after I die I hope I haunt your dreams."


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Robin Samsoe's mother, Marianne Connelly, said "losing my precious Robin was the worst tragedy of my life and knowing the defendant tortured the  victims makes it even harder to accept.

"What I am grateful for is the fact that my little 12-year-old daughter  stopped him from taking any more lives. She helped make it  possible for law enforcement to put him behind bars where he belongs. I hate  him for the pain he has caused me and so many people, but I have prayed about  this and I'm giving my hatred all to God because I've let this feeling consume  me for 31 years and I'm not giving (Alcala) this kind of power over me  anymore."

Briseno said Alcala's photos of the women revealed "sadistic sexual motives." He said "some of the victims were posed after death."

Alcala, perhaps sensing he has little chance of talking Briseno into a life sentence, earlier this month waived his rights to having a probation  report prepared about him and to having a sentencing hearing within 20 days of  his conviction. The 66-year-old Alcala, who represented himself during his murder trial,  told Orange County Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseno at a March 10  hearing that "it doesn't matter to me" when the sentencing hearing is held.

"Anything past 20 days is fine with me," he said.

A probation department report would have taken about six weeks to prepare.

Sentencing Might Not Mean the End

Photos seized from Alcala and released to the public have turned up leads on seven other possible victims.

Huntington Beach police released the photos of women, girls, boys and toddlers that were among hundreds seized in 1979 from a Seattle storage locker Alcala rented before he was arrested for killing 12-year-old Robin Samsoe of Huntington Beach.

During the trial Alcala acted in his own defense. He showed video from his 1978 appearance on the game show "The Dating Game." He was introduced on the show as a "successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed."

Alcala wanted to show the "Dating Game" video to bolster his claim that he was wearing  gold ball earrings, contradicting the mother of one of his alleged victims who  says earrings found in Alcala's possession after he was arrested belonged to her daughter.

During the penalty phase, the trial took another bizarre twist when Alcala played Arlo Guthrie's 1967 song "Alice's Restaurant," in which the narrator tries to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War by trying to persuade a psychiatrist that he's unfit for the military because of his supposed extreme desire to kill.

"I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth," the song's narrator sings. "Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean: kill, kill, kill, kill."

The song prompted Samsoe's brother to leave the courtroom when it was played.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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