Christine Pelisek details the murderer's "dangerous romp through polite society" in her feature, "Rodney Alcala: The Fine Art of Killing," excerpted below.
So smooth was Alcala that he was selected to compete on the ABC prime-time show The Dating Game in 1978, where "bachelorette" Cheryl Bradshaw picked him as her date. Later, police say, she reportedly refused to go on the winning date, sensing that there was something creepy about Bachelor Number One.
Now 66, Alcala has twice stood trial in Orange County for the murder of 12-year-old ballet student Robin Samsoe of Huntington Beach. The sensational crime rocked the sleepy beachside city 31 years ago. He was twice convicted of slaying the small girl, who disappeared on her way to ballet class riding a yellow Schwinn bicycle. Two different juries said Alcala should die. But twice his convictions were reversed on different technicalities -- once by the California Supreme Court in 1984 and a second time by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2001.