Rodney Alcala Wants to Stay on Death Row

Categories: Court, Crime-iny
Thumbnail image for Rodney_Alcala_CDCR.jpg
Serial killer Rodney Alcala has been behind bars since his arrest in 1979 for the murder of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe of Huntington Beach. Through his original convictions, overturned convictions and re-affirmed convictions, the 68-year-old has remained incarcerated in California. Against character, Alcala now says he wants to stay on Death Row. But it's not because he has finally accepted his fate. He wants to stay in California so he doesn't have to go to New York.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. wrote an extradition request in May to bring Alcala to New York to face charges he killed two 23-year-old women: Cornelia Crilley, a Trans World Airlines flight attendant found raped and strangled with a pair of stockings in her Manhattan apartment in 1971, and Ellen Hover, a Hollywood nightclub owner's daughter whose remains were found in the woods on a suburban estate in 1978.


Some have argued it's a waste of government resources to try Alcala in New York since he's already sitting on Death Row, but Vance has justified the legal move so the families of the victims can achieve justice and closure. Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown, the governors of New York and California respectively, signed off on the extradition order in August.

Now, with the assistance of the Marin County Public Defender's office, Alcala has filed court documents seeking to stop the extradition on grounds that he needs to stay on California's Death Row so he can work on his latest appeal. He was convicted last year of murdering Samsoe, Jill Parenteau, Charlotte Lamb, Georgia Wixted and Jill Barcomb.

"His ability to defend against . . . impending execution should be given precedence over New York's wish to prosecute" him on charges carrying a maximum of life in prison, writes Michael G. Millman of the nonprofit California Appellate Project, in a brief that accompanies Alcala's Oct. 24 filing in Marin County Superior Court. Alcala is being held in San Quentin State Prison in Marin County.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has several weeks to respond to the filing. A judge's final decision on Alcala's request probably won't come for several months.

Following his prosecution in Orange County Superior Court last year, the district attorney's office posted more than 100 images of girls and women found in professional photographer Alcala's storage locker, in case someone recognizes other possible victims. (Click here to view them.) Estimates on the number of Alcala murder victims have ranged from 50 to 130.

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A_NEWYORKER 5ptsFeatured
1 minute ago

When is Alcala scheduled finally to death? I know he is again appealing in California. As a family member of Alcala victim in NYC, when he was in NY Court last year, I expected to hear him; we didn't get to hear him in NYC because he stayed mute. After so many years and finally getting that amount of closure via his appearance, my expectation was an apology, an explanation, but nothing.  Of course, no apology and/or explanation will bring back the victims or the years their families had no peace of mind or in their hearts, but it would have satisfied a curiosity as to why he would have done that to these girls. We know he is serial killer but it still, it doesn't make sense that someone would do that to anyone. You know what I mean?

And to 949girl, I understand your opinion on the what's the return on investment for taxpayers, but his coming to NYC to be convicted provided so much closure to so many people, whatever it cost the city and state, I promise you, was well worth it. Families of NYC victims have given a lot to NY State and City for decades.  It was our city and state taking care of us. We appreciate it very, very much. We don't take that kind of consideration for granted. 


Rodney Alcala is a creep, no doubt.  But I don't see the point of trying him in New York.  What a waste of money.  The victim's families have got to know that he's already on death row...they can't get anything more severe than that.  But if New York wants to take on the expense then let them I guess?

Kind of reminds me of the case where Andrew Urdiales was extradited from life without parole in Illinois to be tried by DA Howard Gundy for death here.  Big waste of money, and for what?  Justice...please.


you really dont know what you are talkng about and until you know the full facts then its really not your place to comment your just a sad satistic pearson wasting there life on internet formouses


It's not your call.  You're not a member of the victim's family, nor are you a taxpayer of NY who will be footing the bill.  The victim's family members wishes should be considered in this decision.  Not a girl from the 949.  My 2.2 cents. 


I don't think it's my call, it's just my opinion.  It just doesn't seem logical to try a man who's on death row for more murders when he's not going anywhere.  Alcala makes a mockery of the justice system in the courtroom by representing himself, he's a creep. So I would think that would be hard for a victim's family to witness in itself. As far as the victim's families, I do have sympathy, I just don't see what a trial will accomplish, but hey, if New York wants to take on the expense, let them go for I said above.  Actually I take that back, it will save California money if he moves to New York.

Marcel Elfers
Marcel Elfers

frequently the motive for a second trial is a second conviction in case the first conviction is not upheld for some technicality. Alcala will continue to sling mud at the justice system and one day something will stick and he could be freed on such a technicality. With a second conviction, he will remain behind bars.

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