Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Convicted killer Rodney Alcala plays 'Alice's Restaurant' before asking jury to spare his life

March 9, 2010 | 12:48 pm

Convicted serial killer Rodney James Alcala asked jurors to spare him the death penalty Tuesday, concluding his defense by playing a portion of “Alice’s Restaurant,” the rambling 18-minute Vietnam War protest song by folk singer Arlo Guthrie.

By assigning the death penalty, “you become a wannabe killer in waiting,” Alcala told jurors before playing a section of the 1960s-era song in which 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 words reverberated through the Santa Ana courtroom, Robert Samsoe, brother of 12-year-old murder victim Robin Samsoe, stood up and walked out.

Alcala was convicted last month of murdering Samsoe and four Los Angeles County women during a killing rampage in Los Angeles and Orange counties in the late 1970s.

The jury is set to decide whether he should be sentenced to life in prison without parole or condemned to death row. Alcala has twice been sentenced to death for Samsoe’s murder, but each conviction has been overturned.

“This is probably the most important decision you will ever make,” Alcala told the jury. “Choose wisely.”

The jury is set to begin deliberating late Tuesday afternoon.

-- Paloma Esquivel reporting from Santa Ana