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Assassin in the guise of a nude artist

AmericaAuthorities believe Alcala killed about 50 people, but based on the number of mostly pornographic images he took, detectives believe the number could be as high as 130.

September 13, 1978 was a special Wednesday for Cheryl Bradshaw, the heroine of the TV matchmaking show The Dating Game. From a curated list of potential boys, she chose the most handsome, romantic-looking, Rodney Alcala, who would later become known as the “dating game show killer”.

If it weren’t for women’s intuition, Cheryl Bradshaw would almost certainly be remembered by today’s public as one of Alcala’s victims. But after the show ended, she chatted with Alcala backstage.

He offered her a wonderful date that he “will never forget”. But Cheryl had a feeling that there was something strange and terrifying about this handsome young man.

“I started to feel a little scared,” the girl later said. “He acted really impulsive, mysterious, scary. I declined the invitation immediately. My intuition told me not to see him again.”

One of the other boys present on the show also commented, “Rodney is quite quiet, handsome but there’s something a bit scary. He always looks down and doesn’t make eye contact”.

If this popular dating show did a thorough background check of its attendees, they would find out that this “handsome but scary” guy has spent three years in prison for raping and beating two people. 8 and 13 year old girls.

A cold-blooded killer in the guise of a dating game show

Cheryl Bradshaw and assassin Rodney Alcala on the TV dating show The Dating Game, September 13, 1978. Video: ATI

Alcala was found guilty of his first crime on September 25, 1968, when a witness in Los Angeles called police to report that he had witnessed Alcala luring an 8-year-old girl, Tali Shapiro, into her Hollywood apartment. When the police arrived, the girl was found alive, raped, but Alcala escaped.

Fleeing California in 1968, Alcala used the alias John Berger to enroll at New York University, where, coincidentally, he was in the same Film class as the brilliant but scandalous director, Roman Polanski, who would later be was also convicted of pedophilia.

FBI added Alcala to the list Ten most wanted fugitives in early 1971. A few months later, two kids attending art camp noticed his photo on an FBI poster at the post office. Alcala was arrested and extradited to California.

At that time, the victim’s parents had moved the family to Mexico and refused to allow her to testify at Alcala’s trial. The authorities are therefore unable to press charges Rape and KillingAlcala was only found guilty of child molestation and sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Alcala was pardoned in 1974 after just 17 months. Less than two months after his release, he was arrested again for assaulting a 13-year-old girl. Alcala was once again pardoned after serving two years of his sentence.

Alcala is still allowed to go to New York to “visit relatives”. Within seven days of getting there, he killed a female college student, the daughter of a famous Hollywood nightclub owner. But the incident was only discovered nearly 30 years later.

Back in July 1977, despite being a sex offender with 2 public convictions, Alcala still found a job at The Los Angeles Times as a typewriter.

During this period, Alcala convinced hundreds of young men and women that he was a professional fashion photographer and invited them to model, mostly nude.

Rodney alcala self-proclaimed photographer to lure teenagers to model for him. Photo: cbs

Rodney Alcala claims to be a photographer to lure teenagers into modeling. Image: CBS

On June 20, 1979, Robin Samsoe, a 12-year-old girl from Huntington Beach, disappeared on her way from home to ballet class. Her decomposing body was found 12 days later in the foothills of Los Angeles. Samsoe’s friends told police that a stranger had approached them on the beach, offering to take pictures.

Detectives built a sketch of the suspect, based on descriptions of witnesses, and the police officer in charge of Alcala recognized him. While searching Alcala’s home in Monterey Park, police found the victim’s earrings.

Alcala was arrested in July 1979 and was not released on bail. In 1980, he was tried, sentenced to death for killing Samsoe. However, the California Supreme Court overturned the ruling because the jury was aware of Alcala’s past sex crimes. It took six years to bring him back to trial.

At his second trial in 1986, another jury sentenced him to death. But again, the verdict was overturned because the witness was hypnotized.

Finally, in 2010, 31 years after the murder, a third trial was held. During this trial, Alcala acted as his own defense attorney, asking questions and answering questions for five hours. He also showed a short clip from the dating show, showing the jury that there was a habit of wearing earrings, and that the earrings the police found were his, not the victim’s.

Rodney alcala during the 2010 trial in santa ana, california, march 2, 2010. Photo: ati

Rodney Alcala during the 2010 trial in Santa Ana, California, March 2, 2010. Image: ATI

But in the 31 years Alcala received a delay in the death penalty, it was 31 years of constant progress in forensic science. The victim’s DNA on the earrings exposed Alcala’s lies, and also identified him as the perpetrator of four other murders and rapes. Alcala was sentenced to death for the third time, but this time, it was 5 death sentences.

The most surprising thing was the appearance of a witness in the sentencing hearing, which was Tali Shapiro, the first victim fortunately escaped death at the hands of Alcala 40 years ago.

The exact number of Alcala’s victims has yet to be determined. In the killer’s home, police found more than 1,000 photos of him taking young men and women while impersonating a photographer. Because most of them are too erotic, the police only released a few photos and urged people to identify and report cases that may have gone missing years ago.

While awaiting execution at the california state prison, Alcala died on July 24, 2021, at the age of 77.

Hai Thu (Follow ATI, Biography, NY Post)

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