14 March 2012

The voice artist, the Gong Show, the Dating Game and the Serial Killer

I've posted this video of Cheryl Bradshaw before and a very fine talent she has! What I didn't realise was that she also appeared on the Dating Game in 1978 (the UK version was called Blind Date and a pile of shite it was too... but I digress).

All very corny but Bachelor number 2, who won, is otherwise known as Rodney James Alcala. Despite being a convicted rapist by then Alcala was presented as   "a successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed".

What was not known at the time was that he was also a multiple muderer.

Alcala committed his first known crime in 1968: A motorist in Los Angeles witnessed him luring an eight-year-old girl named Tali Shapiro into his Hollywood apartment and called police. The girl was found in the apartment raped and beaten with a steel bar, but Alcala escaped. He fled to the east coast and enrolled in the NYU film school under an assumed name.

In June 1971, he raped and strangled TWA flight attendant Cornelia Michel Crilley, a 23-year-old whose murder would remain unsolved until 2011.

Later that summer, two children at an New Hampshire arts camp where Alcala now worked saw his FBI wanted poster at the post office and notified camp directors. He was arrested and extradited back to California. By then, however, Tali Shapiro's parents had relocated her family to Mexico, and refused to allow her to testify at Alcala's trial.Without the primary witness, prosecutors were forced to permit Alcala to plead guilty to a lesser charge of assault. He was paroled  in 1974, but less than two months after his release , he was arrested after assaulting a 13-year-old girl known in court records as "Julie J.", who had accepted what she thought would be a ride to school. Once again, he was paroled after serving two years of an "indeterminate sentence."

In 1977, after his second release from prison, his parole officer permitted him to travel to New York. During his stay there he is believed to have been responsible for the murder of Ellen Jane Hover.

On 20 June 1979 12 year old Robin Samsoe, disappeared somewhere between Huntingdon beach and her ballet class . Her decomposing body was found 12 days later in the LA foothills and subsequently found her earrings in a Seattle locker rented by Alcala. In 1980 Alcala was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for Samsoe's murder, but his conviction was overturned  because jurors had been improperly informed of his prior sex crimes. In 1986, after a second trial virtually identical to the first except for omission of the prior criminal record testimony, he was convicted once again, and again sentenced to death. However, am Appeals panel panel overthrew the second conviction, in part because a witness was not allowed to support Alcala's contention that the park ranger who found Samsoe's body had been "hypnotized by police investigators."

While preparing their third prosecution in 2003, Orange County investigators learned that Alcala's DNA  matched Ssemen left at the rape-murder scenes of two women in Los Angeles. Another pair of earrings found in Alcala's storage locker matched the DNA of one of the two victims. Additional evidence, including another cold-case DNA match in 2004, led to Alcala's indictment for the murders of four additional women: Jill Barcomb, 18, a New York runaway found "rolled up like a ball" in a Los Angeles ravine in 1977, and originally thought to have been a victim of the Hillside Strangler; Georgia Wixted, 27, bludgeoned in her apartment in 1977; Charlotte Lamb, 31, raped and strangled in the laundry room of her apartment complex in 1978; and Jill Parenteau, 21, killed  1979.

It wasn't until February 2010 that Alcala stood trial on the five joined charges.
After less than two days' deliberation the jury convicted Alcala on all five counts of first-degree murder. A surprise witness during the penalty phase of the trial was Tali Shapiro, Alcala's first known victim. In March 2010, he was sentenced to death for a third time.

Cheryl Bradshaw refused to go on a date with Alcala after the Dating Game appearance. I have no idea what happened to her but I hope she lived (and hopefully still lives) a full and happy life.


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SnoopyTheGoon said...

Brr... what a story. And people like that one sometimes get scot-free because of legal procedure. Shame.

jams o donnell said...

Ultimately he didn't get off scot free but it is an awful story

Anonymous said...


jams o donnell said...

That it is, Nursie

Anonymous said...

Isn't this her? http://www.maricopa.edu/diversityinfusion/memorial.htm

jams o donnell said...

It looks like it.Thanks for the link