The Horrifying Story Of Rodney Alcala, The Serial Killer Who Won ‘The Dating Game’ During His Murder Spree

Published October 19, 2017
Updated August 14, 2020
Published October 19, 2017
Updated August 14, 2020
Rodney Alcala Trial

Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty ImagesRodney Alcala sits in court during his 2010 trial in Santa Ana, California. March 2, 2010.

During the 2010 trial, the jurors were in for a bizarre ride. Rodney Alcala, acting as his own attorney, asked himself questions (referring to himself as “Mr. Alcala”) in a deep voice, which he would then answer.

The peculiar question and answer session continued for five hours. He told the jury that he was at Knott’s Berry Farm at the time of Samsoe’s murder, played dumb on the other charges, and used an Arlo Guthrie song as part of his closing argument.

Rodney Alcala simply stated that he didn’t remember killing the other women. The only other witness for the defense, psychologist Richard Rappaport, offered the explanation that Alcala’s “memory lapse” could be equated to his borderline personality disorder. The jury, not surprisingly, found Alcala guilty of the four DNA-backed charges, and also found him guilty of killing Samsoe.

A surprise witness at his sentencing was Tali Shapiro, the girl that Alcala had raped and beaten within an inch of her life about 40 years before.

Shapiro was there to witness as justice for Robin Samsoe, 12; Jill Barcomb, 18; Georgia Wixted, 27; Charlotte Lamb, 31; and Jill Parenteau, 21, had finally been achieved. The court handed Alcala the death penalty again — for the third time.

Since that trial, investigators have continued to link the “Dating Game Killer” to many other cold case murders, including two to which he pled guilty in New York in 2013. As of 2018, Rodney Alcala has not been executed. He sits on death row in Corcoran State Prison, California, planning an appeal for his third death sentence.


After this look at Rodney Alcala, the “Dating Game Killer”, check out serial killer quotes that will chill you to the bone. Then, discover five grisly serial killers you’ve never heard of before. Finally, meet Ed Kemper, the killer whose crimes will keep you up at night.

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist, and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.