The story of a charming and charismatic man who was hiding a dark secret (Brettman)
The story of a charming and charismatic man who was hiding a dark secret


True crime: The Dating Game killer

September 20, 2021

The Dating Game was a popular television game show that ran from 1965 into the early 2000s. It was a light-hearted and fun show, meant only to entertain the masses, but one day in 1978, a twisted individual made an appearance. Introduced as a successful photographer, Rodney Alcala seemed to be the perfect bachelor. His charming personality won him the competition and earned him a date with Cheryl Bradshaw.

Alcala won a date with Bradshaw, who was unaware of his sinister intentions

After the show, Bradshaw would go back on her decision and refused to attend the date with Alcala, stating that he was “creepy.” Bradshaw wasn’t the only one with suspicions about Alcala, as even the other contestants on the show described him as a “very strange guy” who had “bizarre opinions.”

As it turns out, Cheryl Bradshaw had made a wise decision refusing to go on a date with Alcala. A year later in 1979, Alcala was arrested under suspicion of the murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe. He would soon be found guilty, but this murder was just the surface of his horrifying crimes.

A photo of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, a famous victim of Alcala

Before his appearance on The Dating Game, Alcala had spent three years imprisoned for the assault of an underage girl and was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. Alcala had already murdered at least four people and had one victim who managed to escape, but this was unknown until his later trials. Officials would also discover Alcala’s portfolio, which included many photos of victims, many of which remain unidentified. 

Alcala originally received the death penalty for the assault and murder of Robin Samsoe, but the California Supreme Court overturned this, as it was believed the jury was biased. He was subject to a second trial in 1986 but once again escaped the death penalty. 

Alcala’s final trial was in 2010, 31 years after the murder of Robin Samsoe. Alcala acted as his own lawyer during this trial and led a bizarre “question and answer” session with himself. This session continued for five hours while Alcala played dumb and acted as if he could not remember killing anyone aside from Samsoe. DNA evidence proved otherwise and Alcala was put on death row for the final time.

Rodney Alcala sitting in his 2010 trial

Alcala would pass away of natural causes at age 77 on July 24, 2021. While his death put an official end to his reign of terror, we are still left with many questions and may never know the full extent of his crimes. 


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