However, it is thought Alcala could be guilty of many, many more.
The Dating Game
Cheryl was introduced as an ex-foot masseuse who quit when her boss suggested she 'work her way up'.
Cheryl was single and was looking for love. The Dating Game could perhaps be where she found her perfect match – and the tongue-in-cheek nature of the show will no doubt have provided a fun experience.
Contestant number 1 was described as a successful photographer who enjoyed some rather adrenaline fuelled activities, such as sky diving and motor bike riding. When asked what his 'best time' was, he responded with “the best time is at night, at night time” – "because that’s the only time there is", the morning and afternoon were "only ok, but night time is when it really gets good, then your really ready".
Regardless, Cheryl chose contestant number 1 as her match for the night. Together Cheryl and the winner Rodney Alcala embraced, and with their arms wrapped around each other, they were told of their prize: a date which included tennis lessons, and a trip to an amusement park.
Later on Cheryl decided she did not want to head out with Rodney, stating that he was creepy. Possibly a good move on her part, as Rodney had several secrets of a rather dark nature.
It is surprising that Rodney was accepted as a contestant on the show at all, as he was a convicted rapist and sex offender. Either the show did not run background checks, or this quite vital information had slipped through.
However, what was much worse was information that no one knew, except for Alcala himself – that he had already killed at least four women.
A Fine Arts Criminal
About four years into his service he was discharged on medical grounds, after having a nervous breakdown. He was described as having an antisocial personality disorder.
Alcala then studied at a school of fine arts, followed by filmography.
In 1968 police entered Alcala’s apartment, they had recieved a call from a concerned person who had seen a man luring a child into his car. Upon entry they found a 8 year old girl who had been raped, beaten and surrounded by photography equipment. Alcala had used a metal pole to bash her skull. Unfortunately Alcala stalled for time and then escaped eventually making his way to New Hampshire where, under an alias, he took up a job as a counsellor at a arts camp for children.
Rodney was eventually arrested and extradited back to California to stand trial for the crime he thought he had escaped punishment for. However, the 8 year old girl was prevented by her parents from testifying, and Alcala was able to plead guilty to the much lesser charge of assault. He did less than three years for his crime.
In 1978, the same year he went on 'The Dating Game', Alcala was questioned in relation to the Hillside Strangler case, due to being on the sex offenders list. He was eventually removed from the suspects list, (two other men were eventually found guilty of those crimes), but did a brief stint in the slammer for possessing marijuana.
In 1979 the body of 12 year old Robin Samsoe was discovered, badly decomposed in the foothills of Los Angeles. She had been reported missing nearly two weeks earlier, after she failed to arrive for her ballet class. Investigations led police to finding Samsoe’s earrings in a locker rented by Alcala in Seattle.
Arrest, Verdict and More Victims?
It is absolutely incredible that two convictions were over turned on technicalities, (this happens more often than one would think), but in the end, all these courtroom arguments and overturned convictions were for the better – four more murders were about to be linked to Alcala.
In 2003, samples of Alcala’s DNA were matched with semen found at several other crime scenes – all of young women who were found in carefully posed positions.
In 2010, Rodney Alcala stood trial for the murder of all five women. Alcala acted as his own attorney and questioned and answered himself in the stand. When pretending to be his lawyer he used a deeper voice and referred to himself as Mr Alcala. He only made attempts at arguing against his potential guilt for the murder of Robin Samsoe, and all but ignored the other charges.
"Kid, see the psychiatrist, room 604."
And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill.
Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth.
Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL."
And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL."
And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."
Didn't feel too good about it.
Alcala then went on to remind the jury that any death sentence imposed on him would likely be repealled so a life sentence would be easiest.
After two days of deliberation the jury came back with a verdict of guilty on five counts of first degree murder. Rodney Alcala was given the death sentence for a third time.
Alcala has since pled guilty to two more murders.
Since this conviction Alcala has been linked to many more murders in three other states. It is believed that he is guilty of far more than this, with some estimates running as high as 130 murders to his name.
It is thought that many more of Alcala’s as of yet unidentified victims will be revealed through the photos. 120 are still online, but there are still over a thousand more yet to be released due to their sexually explicit nature.
Rodney Alcala currently awaits his execution.
Here are the segments featuring Rodney Alcala on 'The Dating Game': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq0JSl6W74E