7 Things You Didn’t Know About Rodney Alcala

Innocence can be feigned! This common saying is proven by the life of the notorious San-Antonio-born American serial rapist and killer, Rodney Alcala, who is responsible for numerous murders, rape, assault, and several other crimes yet does not look anything like danger. Alcala is said to have enticed several of his victims with his good looks, smooth talk and unassuming demeanor that made them believe he could be trusted.

We bring you seven things you did not know about Rodney Alcala in this article such as how he had the audacity to appear on a popular television show and walk free during the course of his crimes which spanned over a decade before he was apprehended.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Rodney Alcala

1. He Was In The United States Army

Before he became a criminal, Alcala joined the U.S Army in 1960 when he was 17 years old and he served as a clerk. After four years on the job, he took off one day from his post at the North Carolina military installation, Fort Bragg, without seeking permission and went to his mother’s house. When he returned, his action was described as a nervous breakdown by the military psychiatrist in charge and he was discharged from the army after the doctor diagnosed him with an antisocial personality disorder.

2. He Has A Degree From UCLA

Following his discharge from the US Army in 1964, Rodney Alcala proceeded to the prestigious University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied and obtained a Bachelor‘s degree from the University’s School of Fine Arts in 1968 despite his Antisocial Personality Disorder.

3. He Committed His First Known Crime In 1968

After he graduated from UCLA, he was seen by a motorist when he lured an eight-year-old girl named Tali Shapiro who was on her way to school, into his car. The motorist trailed them until his car stopped at Alcala’s Hollywood apartment. Suspecting foul play, the motorist notified the police but by the time they got there, he had already raped and beaten the poor girl to stupor. He escaped before the police entered and an arrest warrant was issued for him.

4. He Was Director Roman Polanski’s Student

After he became wanted in Los Angeles, he managed to flee to New York where he enrolled to study film at New York University under the alias “John Berger”. While at NYU film school, Alcala was taught by the popular Hollywood director who is now a fugitive of the US himself, wanted for statutory rape.

5. How He Became The Dating Game Killer

At the peak of his criminal career in 1978, after he had already raped, killed and served time twice for assault, Rodney Alcala worked as a typesetter for the Los Angeles Times where he convinced his co-workers that he was a professional fashion photographer and showed them hundreds of pictures of naked young boys and girls. Some of the people in the pictures were later identified as his victims.

Rodney Alcala
Rodney Alcala in court Image Source

He went on the popular matchmaking show, The Dating Game and introduced himself as a fashion photographer. He was later selected by the single lady, Cheryl Bradshaw, out of the three bachelors who participated in the game but after she spent some time with him backstage, she found him creepy and refused to go on the free trip to magic mountains with him.

He killed two more people after the show and got the name the Dating Game Killer after he was revealed as the murderer he is.

6. Arrest and Sentences

In late 1979, Rodney Alcala was arrested for the murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe. He faced trial in 1980 and was sentenced to death but the sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court of California. He was again sentenced to death in 1986 but a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals nullified that too. He was sentenced to death in California for the third time for killing five other people between 1977 and 1979 including Samsoe. An additional 25-year jail term was added to his sentence in 2013 when he pleaded guilty to two more killings in New York between 1971 and 1977. He is currently serving time at the California State Prison, Corcoran.

See Also: Virginia Rappe And Fatty Arbuckle Scandal: What Really Happened?

7. He Has A Bunch Of Other Disorders

During his trials, various specialists in Psychiatry were consulted and they further diagnosed Rodney Alcala with other disorders apart from the one the military doctor did, including Psychopathy, Sexual Sadism, borderline personality disorder, as well as a malignant narcissistic personality disorder. He is also currently suffering from Dementia.


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