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Orange County jury orders death for Alcala for third time [updated]

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/04hnfQF8Wlafk/x160.jpgAn Orange County jury needed just a few hours Tuesday to hand down the death penalty for Rodney James Alcala, convicted Feb. 25 of murdering four Los Angeles County women and a 12-year-old girl from Huntington Beach in the late 1970s.

It was the third time Alcala, 66, has been convicted for the murder of Robin Samsoe, 12, last seen alive riding her bike to ballet class in June 1979. He had been condemned to death both times, but the convictions were overturned. He has been in custody since his 1979 arrest.

Before the third trial began in January, he was linked through DNA, blood and fingerprint evidence to the deaths of Jill Barcomb, 18, whose body was found in the Hollywood Hills; Georgia Wixted, 27, of Malibu; Charlotte Lamb, 32, of Santa Monica; and Jill Parenteau, 21, of Burbank.

During his closing arguments Tuesday, Alcala -- a onetime photographer and “Dating Game” contestant who acted as his own attorney in this trial -- asked jurors to spare him the death penalty, saying they would become killers themselves if they sent him to death row and arguing that the sentence would lead to decades of appeals.

By assigning the death penalty, “you become a wannabe killer in waiting,” Alcala told jurors before playing a portion of “Alice’s Restaurant,” a rambling 18-minute Vietnam War protest song by folk singer Arlo Guthrie. In the section played, a man being drafted for war tells a military psychiatrist:

“Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth...I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.”

As the word reverberated through the Santa Ana courtroom, Robert Samsoe, Robin’s brother, stood up and walked out.

Alcala remained seated while speaking to the jury during his closing. He wore the same tan sports coat he’s worn since the trial started two months ago.

He told jurors the death penalty would lead to appeals that could last another 15 or 20 years with a high probability the conviction would be reversed. A sentence of life in prison without parole “would end this matter now,” he said.

“This is probably the most important decision you will ever make,” Alcala told the jury, made up of five women and seven men. “Choose wisely.”

Earlier in the day, Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Matt Murphy told jurors Alcala is “an evil monster” who knows how to follow the rules when he wants to and who raped and tortured his victims because he enjoyed it.

Alcala, Murphy said, is an intelligent man who grew up in a middle-class home, had a mother who loved him and had every opportunity in the world.

The prosecutor walked jurors through the defendant’s crimes, including two previous convictions for raping and beating two girls. Both victims testified during the sentencing phase.

Monique H., who was 15 when Alcala picked her up and took her to a mountainous area near Banning, told the jury last week that Alcala asked her to pose for pictures, then knocked her unconscious. He beat, raped and sodomized her, she said.

What she described is “a vignette of everything he did to the ones that did not survive,” Murphy said. “You speak for the conscience of this community. Hold Rodney Alcala responsible for what he did.”

-- Paloma Esquivel in Orange County

[Updated 5:27 p.m.: For the record: An earlier version of this post said Alcala was convicted last week. He was convicted Feb. 25.]

For a timeline of the Alcala case see: Long road to justice in case of serial killer Alcala


Comments () | Archives (30)

How can this disgusting creep still have so many rights when he's a DNA-confirmed killer? Have his hair how he likes to style it and accessories and crap? He gets to inflict twisted lyrics on a justice system b/c he wants to? I am usually against the death penalty due to the number of innocent people who have not had this sort of evidence--DNA, victim testimony, etc--and are on death row. But when it comes to serial rapists? Child molesters? Hello, how can he try to manipulate jurors like that? The guy should have been put down years ago. Even that wouldn't be so just; it would be a painless end for him. Give the families of his victims some rest and quit wasting tax dollars on this unrepentant, self-centered bleep.

Most likely, he'll die in prison. It will be 15-20 years before a death sentence is followed through.

Nice work on part of the jury as well as the courts and prosecution. One less unpredictable deadly useless criminal serial killer out of the systems

Rest-In-Peace Robin Samsoe
Rest-In-Peace Jill Barcomb
Rest-In-Peace Georgia Wixted
Rest-In-Peace Charlotte Lamb
Rest-In-Peace Jill Parenteau

Good! Too bad the sentence won't be carried out by a bunch of vicious thugs raping and torturing him until he expires.

What a lame closing argument. This creep has wasted enough resources. Can we just kill him and be done with him? Sometimes our legal system is idiotic.

Good job to all involved. The wheels of just turn slow, but at least they turn.

He's been convicted twice, and sentenced to death twice. He's spent 31 years behind bars. And still the circus continues. I truly feel that he should be released. Afterall, he's more than proven he's much smarter than this liberal judicial system we have. However, he should be required to live in the neighborhood of one of the judges that overturned his previous two convictions, or the lawyers that represented him. That's all I ask.

Doesn't this sound familiar? He is acting as his own attorney,just like Charlie Manson.I wonder if Manson was a influence to him? I noticed he wears his hairstyle like Arlo,so he must be a big fan. But,Arlo Guthrie is a peace loving hippie folk singer that would never do what he did. This is degrading to Arlo and his music to use his song.If he used any of my songs,i would sue him.When Arlo Guthrie sang for free at a free concert a couple of years ago in Downtown L.A.,i got to meet him,get his autograph,and photo.He is definitely cool!To quote my Dad,"Rapists,child molesting pedapiles need to be castrated,that would sure be good punishment!"

This man seems to have no ability to comprehend the horrible things he's done. I abhor the death penalty, but, God forgive me, I can't wait for the day that smile is wiped off Alcala's face.

How is it possible that this monster was allowed to play a song with graphic lyrics???!!! Little wonder that Robin Samsoe's brother walked out. And how is it that the families of the victims and the surviving victims are put through Hell for years while this evil man sits in his jail cell for three decades, gets three meals a day, computer access, TV, healthcare, books, legal assistance, endless appeals, all paid for by taxpayers?

His two previous convictions were overturned twice! How do the people responsible for overturnng his convictions sleep at night?

This monster is laughing at us as he relives his brutal crimes and gets 3 hots and a cot. Time to end the farce of endless appeals and bring back the rope and firing squad after a single promptly handled appeal to the State courts. From sentence to execution should be less than 90 days, and executions should be public

Zombieland the movie was funny and awesome!

This is California, he will die of old age unless one of his cellmates does what the state won't do.
If this was only Texas !!!

A Skeletor with Phil Spector hair who defends himself? Who could have predicted this outcome?

In a related story, Alcala apologizes to a 50 year old woman whom he raped and beat (with a pipe) 42 years ago, when she was eight years old. He spent just over two years in prison for that. TWO YEARS!! Some judge and jury actually did NOT see fit to put him away for 20 or 30 years for that vicious crime. In another Times story, a man named Nathaniel Brown kills his supervisor after finding out he was about to be laid off from his janitorial job. It was revealed that he spent five years in prison in the late 1970s. For murder? Rape? Molestation? Violent assault? No. For RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY. Alcala is white and middle class. Nathaniel Brown is black and poor. I only hope that these two disparate sentences reflect a time long gone. Hopefully this judge and jury will give the harshest sentence possible to Alcala.

either kill him or let him out of jail already. i am sick of paying for his keep.

Everyday we have more people going to death row and California doesn't execute any of them...can anyone do the math?? More coming in than going out in body-bags...leads to more and more crowding on death-row (of which we have one) and more cost and expense. This state needs to wake up and start using the death penalty that it has...as it is now giving someone 'death' in CA is a joke. This guy is 66 years old...there is a better chance he dies of old-age. let's get some TX lawmakers in here and they will show us how it is done!

As someone who actually has witnessed an execution (as a Nevada state deputy attorney general in the case of State v. Jesse Bishop, Carson City , NV, Oct. 17, 1979, death by gas chamber), I have seen the relief that the survivors of a murder victim experience when the ultimate justice is imposed. Put yourself in the position of one of these survivors, and you may just begin to understand the amount of pain, frustration, and urge for revenge that these unfortunate people feel. It is not only their right to have such justice imposed, it is the scared duty of society to have the courage to mete out this penalty in appropriate cases where there is absolutely no doubt of the defendant's guilt and the circumstances of the case as well as the defendant's record militate to this extreme sentence. Cathartic? You bet it is, and no one who has not experienced the loss of a loved one by murder as these survivors have has any business calling for mercy where such mercy would prolong the pain of the survivors. Oh, and if you're wondering about the deterrent effect in Bishop's case, he never killed anyone again, and I can guarantee that he never, ever will.

What do the prosecutors have to say about him appealing this death sentence again? Is Alcala correct about his statements in saying give him life without parole, or he'll appeal this too?

I've always been hesitant about the death penalty, because it is in reality murdering as well.
Number one, we don't ever want this man out, or to appeal this conviction again.

I say this as someone with a very close family member who was murdered. If they hadn't pursued the death penalty years ago, he would be 30 years into a life sentence upheld under appeals. Instead he's been grandstanding on TV for weeks now. He wouldn't have the public forum he has, the family wouldn't have to relive all of this every several years, and it would have saved the taxpayers a lot of money.

You mention that he is a former photographer and "Dating Game" contestant (who won and was picked by the bachelorette, no less-- although, she later got the willies and refused to go on her date with him!). You curiously choose not to mention, however, that he is an erstwhile employee of your very own newspaper-- and that he was hired as such after he already had a criminal record as a convicted child rapist! He was hired under his real name, too, not an alias. He committed most of his listed murders while employed by your very own newspaper. I am sure that mere space limitations caused you or your careful editors to cut out such insignificant information-- rather than miss out, say, on imparting the crucial fact that Mr. Alcala-- who has been imprisoned ever since his arrest on July 24, 1979-- is such a despicable defendant that he actually wore the same tan sport coat throughout the two-month trial, rather than spend his prison earnings and vast personal fortune on an appropriately large, varied and fashionable wardrobe!

Following this story through the weeks I am glad the jury convicted Alcala and sentenced him to death, even though he will probably die of old age before ever being executed. We must send a message and the jury did just that.

So, it is time, again. After 30 years in custody, after 5 murders, after more time behind bars than his victims ever got in life, how much more tax payer funds are we going to waste on this POS?

Execute him within 2 weeks. Painfully, without remorse, without interest, without delay, without senseless appeals, without care......just like he showed for his victims.

Is he the only former employee of a certain left-leaning LA daily newspaper to be sentenced to death?

I wish we'd get a good story about his time at that left-leaning LA daily paper as he was in the midst of his murderous crime spree when he worked there. I'd love to know what he was like, why the paper hired a felon convicted of child rape, why no one did anything when a felon convicted of child rape showed his co-workers and supervisor child porn he had produced, etc.

I think it would be really interesting for the readers. And we know that this particular left-leaning LA daily newspaper doesn't censor inconvenient facts, right? John Edwards excepted of course.

Alcala got exactly what he wanted. He persuaded the jury by asking them for what he did not want. As a condemned prisoner he will have better accommodations, greater access to communications, more appeals, more attention and will probably live longer than if he had received a life sentence. Ironically, he employed song lyrics in which the character of the song employs similar reverse psychology. What's disturbing is that Alcala apparently was honest in his closing argument: a life sentence would bury him, and he does want to kill; but the jury was unable or unwilling to see through his transparency.

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