Evil Dating Game Killer Rodney James Alcala dies in prison aged 77

Vile death row serial killer Rodney James Alcala, who murdered a 12-year-old girl and at least seven other women, has died in jail.

The 77-year-old had been taken to hospital close to California's Corcoran state prison, when he died of natural causes in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The serial killer got his moniker for appearing on an American TV show called The Dating Game in 1978 – after he had begun his sickening murder spree.

Introduced as an eligible bachelor looking for love, the television crew had no idea of Alcala's dark and twisted crimes.

It was not until 2010 that Alcala was finally brought to justice when he pleaded guilty to taking the lives of women in California and New York.

While he killed at least eight women the authorities believe he may have been responsible for as many as 130 murders.

Decades earlier in 1980 Alcala was handed the death penalty for kidnapping and killing Robin Samsoe, 12, in Los Angeles but the California Supreme Court overturned the decision.

A retrial resulted in the same sentence only for it to be overturned again in 2003, BBC News reports.

As investigators later discovered forensic evidence linking Alcala to more murders in California, a trial in 2010 found him guilty of killing Samsoe, Jill Barcomb, 18, 27-year-old Georgia Wixted, Charlotte Lamb, 32, and 21-year-old Jill Parenteau, between 1977 and 1979.

In September 1978, the murderer beat two other single men in a 'Blind Date' style game show to win over a female contestant based on his answers to her questions.

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The woman later admitted to snubbing a date with Alcala having spoken to him backstage, where he came across as "creepy".

In 2012, he was charged with two more murders of Cornelia Crilley, in 1971 and Ellen Jane Hover in 1977, which saw him extradited to New York where he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors in Wyoming charged Alcala in 2016 with the murder of Christine Ruth Thornton, who was 28 years old and six months pregnant when she disappeared in 1978, Yahoo!News reports.

California state prison officials said in a statement on Saturday that Alcala was suspected being behind far more murders.

No further details were given about his death.

There are currently some 700 inmates on death row in California, but Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a moratorium on executions. Only 13 inmates have been executed since 1992.

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