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Former 'Dating Game' contestant to die for murders

By the CNN Wire Staff
Rodney Alcala, 66, represented himself in the penalty phase of his trial.
Rodney Alcala, 66, represented himself in the penalty phase of his trial.
  • Rodney Alcala convicted last month in deaths of four women, child
  • He was winning bachelor on television show in 1978
  • At the time, he had been found guilty of raping 8-year-old

(CNN) -- A onetime contestant on "The Dating Game" was sentenced to die Tuesday for murdering four women and a child, Orange County, California, officials said.

Rodney Alcala, 66, was convicted in February of kidnapping and murdering a 12-year-old girl and raping and murdering four Los Angeles County women in the 1970s.

"Losing Robin, we lost so many things," said Marianne Connelly, the mother of Robin Samsoe, 12, whom authorities said Alcala murdered in 1979.

"We didn't get to watch her grow up. We didn't get to see her graduate high school or college, see her have a dance career, get married and/or have children," Connelly told the court Tuesday. "He took her life, her future and our joy."

Deidreann Parenteau, Jill Parenteau's sister, said she never understood why her sister had to die at Alcala's hands.

"If there is a hell, I hope Rodney Alcala burns eternally," she told the court. "I wish he would experience the terror that he put his victims through."

The crimes took place between November 1977 and June 1979, and covered a wide swath of suburban Los Angeles, California, from Burbank to El Segundo, authorities said.

A jury recommended this month that Alcala receive the death penalty.

He was found guilty February 25 of murder, kidnapping and an array of sexual offenses. He acted as his own attorney during the penalty phase of the trial.

Video: Killer's game show past

In 1978, Alcala was a winning bachelor on the television show "The Dating Game." At the time, he had been convicted in the 1968 rape of an 8-year-old girl, authorities said. He served a 34-month sentence.

A year earlier, according to the Orange County district attorney, Alcala had raped, sodomized and killed two women: Jill Barcomb, an 18-year-old New Yorker who had recently moved to California, and Georgia Wixted, a 27-year-old nurse.

The district attorney said Alcala used a large rock to smash in Barcomb's face and then "strangled her to death by tying a belt and pant leg around her neck." Her body was left in a mountainous area in the foothills near Hollywood.

Wixted was beaten with the claw end of a hammer, the district attorney said. Alcala "strangled her to death using a nylon stocking and left her body in her Malibu apartment," according to the district attorney's Web site.

On "The Dating Game," Alcala -- who was introduced as a "successful photographer" who might also be found sky diving or motorcycling -- succeeded in charming bachelorette Cheryl Bradshaw from behind a wall.

"Who will it be?" the host asked Bradshaw at the end.

"I'll take One," she said, and Alcala strode out.

Three more murders followed Alcala's appearance on the show, the district attorney said.

In June 1979, he beat, raped and strangled Charlotte Lamb, a 33-year-old legal secretary, with her shoelace in the laundry room of her El Segundo apartment complex, according to the district attorney's office.

The case was investigated but went cold. The same month, according to the district attorney's office, Alcala raped and murdered 21-year-old Parenteau in her Burbank apartment. She was also strangled with a cord or nylon.

Alcala's blood was collected from the scene after he cut himself crawling out a window, the district attorney said. "Based on a semi-rare blood match, Alcala was linked to the murder," the district attorney said.

Though he was charged with murdering Parenteau, the case was dismissed after his first conviction in the Samsoe case.

In that 1979 case, Alcala approached the 12-year-old at the beach in Huntington Beach and asked her to pose for pictures, the district attorney said. She did and then rode off on her bicycle to dance class.

She never made it. "The defendant kidnapped and murdered Samsoe and dumped her body near Sierra Madre in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains," the district attorney said.

Alcala was convicted in 1980 of Samsoe's murder and was sentenced to death, but the conviction was overturned by the California State Supreme Court.

A second trial in 1986 also resulted in a conviction and death sentence, but it was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As he awaited a third trial, Alcala's DNA was linked to the crime scenes in the Barcomb, Wixted and Lamb cases. He was charged with the four Los Angeles murders, including Parenteau's.

Police investigating Alcala discovered dozens of photographs of women and children in a storage unit he kept in Seattle, Washington. The locker also contained earrings belonging to Samsoe, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Police have asked for the public's help in determining whether any of the people in the photographs are victims of Alcala's.