Serial killer Rodney Alcala has been found guilty of killing 12-year-old Huntington Beach ballet student and four Los Angeles County women. The verdict was read around 1:30 p.m. today in the Orange County Superior court room of Judge Francisco Briseno.
The court room was packed with newspaper and television reporters, detectives from Los Angeles and Orange County, and family members of the victims.
Jurors reached the verdict on their second full day of deliberations. The panel began deliberating February 23, without submitting any questions to the judge.
Alcala, who wore a gray jacket, blue jeans and tennis shoes, was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder, along with a single count of kidnapping tiny ballerina Samsoe. He said nothing after the verdicts were read.
Alcala, a once-dashing ladies' man, UCLA fine-arts graduate and former film student of Roman Polanski's, is believed to have used his wit and his access to the creative communities in L.A. and Greenwich Village during the '60s and '70s to entrap and murder seven women and girls, and to rape several others. So smooth was Alcala that he appeared on the ABC prime-time show The Dating Game in 1978, on which "bachelorette" Cheryl Bradshaw picked him as her date.
The bespectacled, shaggy-haired 66-year-old Alcala was accused of the 1970s brutal rape-murders of 27-year-old Malibu nurse Georgia Wixted, 21-year-old Pasadena key punch operator Jill Parenteau, 32-year-old Santa Monica legal secretary Charlotte Lamb, 18-year-old New York runaway Jill Barcomb, and 12-year-old Huntington Beach ballet student Robin Samsoe.
Twice, Alcala has been found guilty of murdering Samsoe, but both convictions were overturned on appeal.
In 2005, when DNA evidence linked alleged serial killer Rodney Alcala to the murder of Barcomb, her brother Bruce sent letters and a book on sex addiction called Out of the Shadows to Alcala in his Orange County jail cell, where he was preparing his defense against charges that he murdered Jill Barcomb and four others.
Barcomb hoped that Alcala would confess to the cold-case murders he is suspected of committing in the 1960s and 1970s, during an alleged murderous romp from New York's Greenwich Village to California's beach cities. It was Barcomb's desire that Alcala also reveal to police any unsolved murders he may have committed.
Alcala never replied. Instead, he prepared his defense.
During closing arguments earlier this week, Orange County prosecutor Matt Murphy told the packed courtroom that the former Los Angeles Times typesetter and amateur photographer took his time terrorizing his victims by choking them with his bare hands, waiting for them to wake up at least once, then strangling them again -- sometimes using shoelaces or panty hose. "It is a staggeringly horrific way to die," exclaimed Murphy. "There is ample evidence the women put up some resistance....He gets off on it. It was fun."
Once they were dead, Alcala allegedly would then pose their bodies.
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New York City detectives believe that Alcala is also responsible for the cold-case murders of flight attendant Cornelia Crilley and Manhattan socialite Ellen Jane Hover, whose disappearance decades ago sent fear through the jet sets in New York City and Los Angeles among whom Hover traveled.
The penalty-phase of the trial will begin Tuesday for jurors to recommend whether Alcala should be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Check out "The Dating Game" video: