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.
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"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.