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Serial killer Rodney Alcala may face murder charges in New York cases

January 27, 2011 |  4:51 pm

Convicted serial killer Rodney Alcala, already condemned to death row in a string of Southern California slayings, will probably be taken to New York to face charges in the slaying of two women there in the 1970s.

On Thursday, Manhattan Dist. Atty. Cyrus Vance Jr. announced that a grand jury had voted to indict Alcala on murder charges in the deaths of two young women that Vance said “have haunted New York since the 1970s.”

Alcala is charged with the murder of Cornelia Crilley, a 23-year-old flight attendant who in 1971 was raped and strangled with her stockings in her apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

He is also charged with the slaying of Ellen Hover, also 23 and a young Manhattan socialite and daughter of a Hollywood nightclub owner, who was found dead in 1977, not far from her family’s estate in Westchester County.

Authorities long suspected Alcala in both cases, but it wasn’t until the district attorney's “cold case” unit reexamined the files, re-interviewed old witnesses and pieced together new evidence, Vance said, that they had enough evidence to bring the case to a grand jury.

Alcala was convicted last February of murdering four women and a 12-year-old Huntington Beach girl during a killing rampage in Los Angeles and Orange counties in the late 1970s. He was sentenced to death by the same jury a month later.

It marked the third time he was sentenced to death for the murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, last seen alive riding her bike to ballet class in 1979.

-- Geraldine Baum, reporting from New York City, and Paloma Esquivel, reporting from Los Angeles