The Dating Game Killer, Rodney Alcala.
The Dating Game Killer, Rodney Alcala. News Corp Australia

Dating Gamer Killer’s life to become subject of new TV movie

BEHIND the high cheek bones and million-dollar smile, Rodney Alcala had a dark secret.

A handsome man, he was a depraved serial killer who preyed on young, attractive women.

He was sentenced to death over five murders he committed in the 70s and later confessed to 30 more, but it's believed he killed up to 130 people.

During his killing spree he even appeared on TV show The Dating Game. He was later given the nickname "Dating Game Killer".

Now the life of the man who had an IQ of 160 will become the focus of a new movie by the same name.

The true crime show will star Scandal's Guillermo Diaz as Rodney Alcala and Carrie Preston from The Good Wife as the mother of one of his victims. It follows in the footsteps of documentary efforts like Netflix's Making a Murderer and the recent Amanda Knox documentary.

Back in 1978, Alcala was one of three men behind a screen while a bachelorette asked them questions before choosing one to date.

The bachelorette, Cheryl Bradshaw, chose Alcala, but didn't follow through on the date because she thought he was a creep.

Alcala lured his victims by telling them he was a professional fashion photographer. He would snap them in sexually explicit positions and sometimes rape or kill them.

He had a chilling photo album, with hundreds of pictures, and many were revealed to the public in the hope of finding out the identity of some of his potential victims.

He had a sick fetish and often strangled his victims until they were unconscious. Then he'd revive them and do it all again.

Jill Barcomb and Georgia Wixted
Jill Barcomb and Georgia Wixted Supplied

In November 1977 Alcala murdered Jill Barcomb. Her body was found in her home in Hollywood Hills in LA.

According to the LA Times, she was sexually assaulted, bludgeoned and strangled with a pair of jeans.

Only a month after that, Georgia Wixted, a 27-year-old nurse, was murdered and found in her Malibu home. She was also sexually assaulted and strangled.

Alcala got away with the murders and then appeared on The Dating Game in 1978, when Ms Bradshaw made the potentially lifesaving decision to dump him before she even dated him.

After his appearance on television, Alcala continued his murderous rampage, and police believe the rejection from Ms Bradshaw spurred on his appetite to kill.

In 1978 he murdered 32-year-old legal secretary Charlotte Lamb, who was found in the laundry at her apartment in Californian city El Segundo. The LA Times reported she was sexually assaulted, like his other victims, and strangled with a shoelace.

Jill Parenteau was his next victim, about a year later. He strangled her on the floor of her apartment in LA suburb Burbank.

Robin Samsoe was Alcala's fifth victim, and she was just 12 years old. The LA Times reports she disappeared near Huntington Beach Pier around June 20 1979, and her body was found about two weeks later.

Samsoe's friends made a statement to police, saying a stranger came up to them on the beach, wanting to take pictures.

Charlotte Lamb and Robin Samsoe.
Charlotte Lamb and Robin Samsoe. Supplied

Alcala was already on parole for past sexual assaults and in 1971, before the five murders, he was one of 10 most wanted fugitives in the US.

According to CBS News he was seen luring eight-year-old Tali Shapiro into his apartment in Hollywood in 1968. She was alive but had been brutally beaten with a steal bar and raped.

A passer-by saw him take the girl and called the police. But Alcala fled, changed his name to John Berger and enrolled in film school at NYU and later got a job at a children's camp.

CBS reported two children at the camp noticed it was Alcala on FBI posters and he was extradited to California. But was never convicted of rape and attempted murder of Tali because her parents did not want her to testify.

He was jailed on assault charges and paroled soon after. He then assaulted a 13-year-old girl and was jailed and paroled again.

He wasn't caught over the murders until Ms Samsoe's death. Following Ms Samsoe's friends' account of the stranger on the beach, detectives drew a sketch of the possible offender and a parole officer recognised him as Alcala.

According to the LA Weekly, this led police to search Alcala's mother's house in LA and found evidence that would lead them to something disturbing.

They found a receipt for a storage locker and inside were Ms Samsoe's earrings - he had kept them as a souvenir.

The first time he was convicted, the verdict was thrown out because the jury was given wrong information about his past sexual assaults. He was tried again after police found a different pair of earrings in the storage locker with DNA that matched Ms Lamb.

By 2010 Alcala had been convicted of five murder charges and had a very bizarre appearance in court and defended himself, asking himself questions out loud.

He was sentenced to death in California for the murders and three years later his sentence was extended by another 25 years after he pleaded guilty to two more murders.

In September this year, he was charged by police in Wyoming for the murder of 28-year-old Christine Thornton, who disappeared in 1977. There are currently no plans to extradite Alcala out of California.

Nobody has been executed in California for 10 years.

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