Have you ever watched somebody on a TV show who gave off an extremely unsettling vibe?
This may not have been the case for viewers of the game show, "The Dating Game" back in the 1970s, but it would definitely make sense if they felt at least a little unnerved while watching "bachelor number one" attempt to win over a woman's heart from behind a screen.
That's because the man, Rodney Alcala, had murdered at least four women before appearing on the show.
The serial killer is known for taking sick enjoyment from strangling his victims. According to prosecutors, he would choke them until they passed out, wait until they woke up, and then repeated the process until they eventually died. He also took thousands of photos of women and teenage boys in sexually explicit poses. One of the women pictured was later identified as his victim.
In 1964, just three years after turning 18, the Los Angeles resident was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. Psychiatric experts later suggested at his murder trials that he had narcissistic personality disorder with psychopathy and a tendency towards sexual sadism.
His first known criminal act occurred in 1968, when he lured an eight-year-old girl named Tali Shapiro into his apartment in Hollywood. A motorist had witnessed this and called police, who found the girl alive. She had been raped and beaten with a steel bar.
He evaded arrested by fleeing to different states and changing his name multiple times, but the FBI added his name to its list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives in 1971. Later that year, 23-year-old flight attendant Cornelia Michel Crilley was found raped and strangled in her Manhattan apartment.
Alcala was finally arrested when two children from the arts camp he was working at saw his photo on an FBI poster, but Shapiro's parents refused to let her testify at his trial. He was ultimately charged with assault and paroled in 1974 after serving 34 months. He was arrested again just two months after his release when he assaulted another 13-year-old girl, but he was paroled again after serving two years.
Not long after, he murdered 23-year old Ellen Jane Hover, the daughter of a popular Hollywood nightclub owner. A year later, he was interviewed by members of the Hillside Strangler task force and ruled out as a suspect.
In 1978, he became a contestant on "The Dating Game." Though he ended up winning, Cheryl Bradshaw, the bachelorette, refused to go out with him because she thought he was creepy.video-player-present
A year later, 12-year-old Robin Samsoe's body was found in the Los Angeles foothills 12 days after she went missing. Her friends told police that a stranger had approached them on the beach and asked to take their pictures. Alcala's parole officer recognized the sketch of the man, and police later found Samsoe's earrings in his storage locker in Seattle.
He was arrested in 1979 and convicted of murder twice. In both trials he was sentenced to death, but each sentence was overturned. However, investigators learned that his DNA matched semen taken from the crime scenes of two women who were raped and murdered in Los Angeles.
More DNA evidence revealed that he had killed an additional four women, including 18-year-old Jill Barcomb, 31-year-old Charlotte Lamb, 21-year-old Jill Parenteau, and 27-year-old Georgia Wixted, who is pictured below. Each of the bodies were said to be posed "in carefully chosen positions."
Alcala was finally convicted on five counts of first-degree murder in his third trial, during which he bizarrely acted as his own attorney. He interrogated himself for five hours on the witness stand, addressing himself as "Mr. Alcala" in a deep voice and then replying in his regular voice.