(UPDATED after jump): An Orange County judge this morning sentenced convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala to death. Judge Francisco Briseno said the former Los Angeles Times typesetter had an “abnormal interest in young girls.”
The judge also said Alcala's testimony in court was not credible because of his numerous lies to family, friends and cops soon after one of the murders. Last month, Alcala, an amateur photographer and The Dating Game winner was convicted of five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jill Barcomb, Charlotte Lamb, Jill Parenteau, Robin Samsoe and Georgia Wixted, along with a single count of kidnapping tiny ballerina Samsoe. He said nothing to the judge after the verdict was read.
Huntington Beach Police Department detectives are now trying to identify women, girls, boys and toddlers who appear in hundreds of photos seized from a storage locker in Seattle, Washington, that was rented by the convicted serial killer.
Alcala, a once-dashing ladies' man, UCLA fine-arts graduate and former film student of Roman Polanski's, used his wit and his access to the creative communities in L.A. and Greenwich Village during the '60s and '70s to allegedly 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 Lamb, 18-year-old New York runaway Barcomb, and 12-year-old Huntington Beach ballet student 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 last month, Orange County prosecutor Matt Murphy told the packed courtroom that the 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.
The judge's ruling Tuesday morning was followed by statements from the victim's family members. Alcala, who was wearing an oversized denim jacket and jeans, sat quietly and fiddled with paper work when family members spoke about how the murders of their loved ones changed their lives. Alcala, who represented himself during the two month trial, declined to speak about the murders or address the family members.
Bruce Barcomb, the brother of 18-year-old victim Jill Barcomb, told the packed Orange County courthouse filled with reporters and law enforcement officials, including Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, that they were in court because of Alcala's sex addiction. “I lost the person who gave me the strongest emotional comfort,” he said.
Anne Michelena, the sister of nurse Georgia Wixted, said she had to clean her sisters bloody apartment after she was brutally raped and beaten.
“She was robbed of her future. She would never be a wife or mother,” she said.
Dedee Parenteau talked about how her sister Jill's murder destroyed her parents' lives. “I wonder how he would feel if his sister was murdered? You are never over it…I hope Rodney Alcala burns eternally. He is truly a devil.”
Cathy Franco, Jill Parenteau's best friend, told the judge that her friend was a gentle spirit who was just starting her career as a key punch operator when she was murdered by Alcala. Franco said they met Alcala at the Handlebar Saloon a few times and thought he was “dorky.”
“How could we have spoken to him and not known he was so dangerous?,” she asked.
A grief stricken Robert Samsoe said the death of his sister Robin destroyed his hope.”I hope you don't sleep at night,” he said to Alcala. “Robin never hurt nobody. She loved Jesus, God and everyone…maybe after 31 years Robin can rest.”
Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the mistresses' of Tiger Woods and Jesse James, took the podium next to Huntington Beach ballerina student Samsoe's mother Marianne Connelly. Allred said she was in court to make sure that Connelly was allowed to read her victim impact statement.
Connelly, who was crying uncontrollably, said the world was denied a true potential gymnast because her goal was to break all of Kathy Rigby's records.
“I'm waiting for the day he dies,” she said. “I only wish I could be the one to administer the injection.”
Judge Francisco Briseno had the final word. Briseno, who said he usually doesn't address the court, said he took offense to Alcala's closing statements last month, in which the serial killer played Arlo Guthrie's, “Alice's Restaurant.” Alcala was trying to tell jury members, via song, that they would also be killers if they sentenced him to death.
“This is Alcala's national anthem,” Briseno said. “This is his state of mind — his feelings. This is who he is when he took life.”