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At the third trial Alcala, acting as his own attorney, told jurors, often in a rambling monotone, that he was at Knott's Berry Farm when Samsoe was kidnapped.
(He offered no defense of any kind in the other four cases.) As part of his closing argument, he played the portion of Arlo Guthrie's song "Alice's Restaurant" in which the protagonist tells a psychiatrist he wants to "kill." He was convicted on all five counts.
Alcala committed his first known crime in 1968: A motorist in Los Angeles witnessed him luring an eight-year-old girl named Tali Shapiro into his Hollywood apartment and called police.
The girl was found in the apartment raped and beaten with a steel bar, but Alcala escaped.
Dating Game appearance In 1978, Alcala who had by then already killed at least two women was accepted as a contestant on The Dating Game, despite being a convicted rapist and registered sex offender.
In 1980 Alcala was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for Samsoe's murder, but his conviction was overturned by the California Supreme Court because the Orange County Superior Court trial judge had allowed the jury to hear about the Tali Shapiro case, and Alcala's other rape and kidnapping convictions.
He is also a suspect in at least two unsolved murders in New York.
Authorities have compared him to Ted Bundy, and fear that, as evidence continues to mount, he may prove to be one of the most prolific serial killers in American history.
New York officials have the option of filing additional charges against Alcala, who is the main suspect in the case of Ciro's Nightclub heiress Ellen Jane Hover, murdered in 1977 while Alcala was working in New York as a security guard.
He is also suspected in the murder of TWA flight attendant Cornelia "Michael" Crilley, which occurred in 1971 while Alcala was enrolled at NYU.