By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
In fact, Alcala has performed in exactly the manner Bruce Barcomb asked him to avoid for the sake of his alleged victims. Alcala has held up the trial for weeks, acting like an absent-minded professor. Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit wrote of Alcala's opening statements: "I've seen 19-year-old gangbangers give a more cogent and persuasive defense."
Even the court audience has added to the antics: Actress Charlize Theron, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, showed up one day, and was chastised by the judge after she attracted attention while trying to sneak out of the court before the jurors left.
Alcala has focused on constructing an alibi for the Samsoe killing, but said nothing in court about his whereabouts on the days that Parenteau, Jill Barcomb, Lamb and Wixted were found murdered. Instead, he spent a full day explaining to the jury what he claims he was doing before, during and after the June 20, 1979, disappearance of ballerina Samsoe.
"Okay, Mr. Alcala, let's move on," he said to himself on the stand one day. "Let's talk about earrings."
Alcala has insisted that earrings found in what prosecutors called his "trophy pouch" were actually his own, and not earrings owned by Samsoe's mother, Marianne Connelly, who testified recently that the gold earrings found by police in Alcala's Seattle locker were hers.
In an apparent bid to gain sympathy from the jury, Alcala asked Connelly why she brought a loaded .25 caliber pistol to a 1980 hearing of his arrest for her daughter's murder. But Connelly appeared to get the upper hand when she testified candidly, "Yes, I did [entertain the idea of shooting Alcala in 1980]. But I thought the law would have helped me. I realized that the children I had left needed me."
Detective Shepard says of Alcala's behavior in court, "It is his final act — to orchestrate the case and represent it in a way he wants to present it. Everyone is a captive there. Everyone is at his command."
Jill Parenteau last spoke to her older sister Dedee hours before she was murdered. Parenteau attended a Dodgers game with a high school friend who had a crush on her. On June 14, 1979, the day after that friend dropped her off at her Burbank apartment, she was found dead inside; she had been raped and beaten badly. "It made me crumble," Dedee tells the Weekly of her sister's murder. "I really had to talk myself through many of the days."
Alcala became the prime suspect after Parenteau's friend picked him out as the mangy-haired photographer whom Parenteau had brushed off beforehand, at the Handle Bar Saloon in Pasadena. Later, a jailhouse informant ratted out Alcala, who allegedly had told the inmate he had cut his finger when he climbed through the apartment window of a woman he had killed, leaving behind traces of his blood, a rare type. Alcala murdered Parenteau, the informant alleged, because she "shined on" Alcala.
Now, for the third time, Alcala's fate is in the hands of 12 Southern California jurors. Says Bruce Barcomb: "The Perry Mason fantasy of walking away from five counts of capital murder was just a fantasy. He could have spared all of us for having to go through the trial. He will do whatever he wants to — and victims be damned."
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