48 Hours Mystery - The Killing Game   View more episodes

Aired at 09:00 PM on Saturday, Sep 25, 2010 (9/25/2010)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:00E door.
00:00:02I will always remember that face at that door-- very evil face.
00:00:10He says, "i'm in the shower.
00:00:18" and I told him, "okay, you've got ten seconds.
00:00:20Open this door.
00:00:20" finally I kicked the door in.
00:00:24The image will be with me forever.
00:00:27We could see in the kitchen that there was a body on the floor, a lot of blood.
00:00:36They say a picture says a thousand words, and the image of those little white mary janes on the floor with that metal bar they used to strangle her, and the puddle of blood, it just looks like too much blood to come out of a tiny little eight- year-old like that.
00:00:51We determined that she was dead.
00:00:53We started searching the residence, and there was a lot photograph equipment, and all of us were amazed at the amount of photographs he had there of young girls, very young girls.
00:01:04WE FOUND A LOT OF I.D.s, A of a rodney alcala, he was a student at u.c.l.a.
00:01:11>> That's one of the first times he ever turned up on the radar for law enforcement.
00:01:21My name is matt murphy, I'm the , orange county, homicide unit.
00:01:30Ala managed to give them the slip.
00:01:33>> As things would have it, we were always 15 minutes behind him.
00:01:34>> All the emphasis went on "where is he?
00:01:35" and we kept coming up empty.
00:01:37" >> from all outward appearances, rodney alcala was a handsome, ..
00:01:40>> Please welcome rodney alcala!
00:01:42>> I'm called the banana, and i look really good.
00:01:45..Smart young man that wouldn't hurt a fly.
00:01:48>> I'll take one.
00:01:49>> Number one!
00:01:51(Cheers and applause) bachelor number one.
00:01:54>> tali shapiro was only the very beginning of a long series of murders and assaults committed by rodney alcala.
00:02:00Rodney alcala is the devil, and he had to be stopped.
00:02:04>>"The killing game," tonight's " Captioning sponsored by CBS >>The mystery continues in 90 seconds.
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00:04:02>> Jay Dow: Tonight, we bring you the story of rodney alcala, which, sadly is the last story reported by the late harold dow.
00:04:12Harold was a "48 hours" correspondent for 22 years, as long as "48 hours" has been on television.
00:04:20His passion and his generous spirit are deeply woven into the fabric of this broadcast.
00:04:28I'm jay dow, a correspondent for wcbs in new york and a contributing correspondent for cbs news.
00:04:34Harold was my uncle, my friend and my colleague.
00:04:39He had spent more than a year working on this story, and was just finishing it when he died suddenly last month.
00:04:45He was determined to bring this intricate tale to our viewers.
00:04:50So tonight, for the last time, "48 hours" presents harold dow.
00:05:09>> You could tell that she had been raped.
00:05:11There was no breathing.
00:05:13I thought she was dead.
00:05:14We all thought she was dead.
00:05:16>> Harold Dow: Los angeles police officer chris camacho found eight-year-old tali shapiro battered and bleeding, her throat constricted by a ten- pound steel bar on that september morning in 1968.
00:05:31>> So I grabbed a towel and i picked up the edge of the bar, and I laid it off to the side.
00:05:37>> Harold Dow: Camacho then left tali's side to continue searching the house for her attacker.
00:05:42Moments later, when he walked back into the kitchen, he witnessed a miracle.
00:05:48>> She was gagging and trying to breathe, and I thought, "one for the good guys.
00:05:52" >> Harold Dow: Clinging to life, tali was rushed to the hospital.
00:05:59>> Had it not been for that police officer, tali shapiro would have died on rodney alcala's kitchen floor.
00:06:05>> Harold Dow: The suspect, 25- graduate rodney alcala, had slipped through the officers' fingers.
00:06:13>> When I kicked in the front door, the other officers came running around to assist me, and the suspect went out the back door.
00:06:20>> Harold Dow: But to camacho, all that mattered was saving tali.
00:06:25>> When I was in vietnam, when we were in combat, I tried to ..
00:06:32I didn't do it.
00:06:33He died.
00:06:36So with tali, it was kind of like god gave me a second chance to save someone.
00:06:41>> Harold Dow: Soon after tali healed, her parents moved her out of the country.
00:06:46>> I found out that they had moved to mexico, that they did not want to raise their daughter in this society any longer, and that was the last I heard of em.
00:06:58>> Harold Dow: The investigation was now in the hands of detectives.
00:07:02With alcala in the wind, detective steve hodle was grasping at thin air.
00:07:09>> A kinds of rumors-- he's going down to mexico, he's gone to canada, he'd gone to europe.
00:07:12But we kept coming up empty.
00:07:15Back then, you know, we didn't have a lot of the forensics you have today.
00:07:18>> Harold Dow: Complicating matters, it seemed no one was willing to believe the gifted student could be responsible for such a heinous crime.
00:07:27>> He was a snake charmer.
00:07:28I went and talked to his professor at u.c.l.a.
00:07:31He says "he wouldn't harm a " he truly believed that, you know, and a lot of people did.
00:07:36, you know.
00:07:39We said, "this guy is going to commit other crimes.
00:07:40" >> Harold Dow: In 1969, the put rodney alcala on its most wanted list.
00:07:47>> We've got to find this guy.
00:07:48We've got to get him off the streets.
00:07:49We've got to bring him to justice.
00:07:52>> Harold Dow: Nearly two years later came the break they'd been waiting for.
00:07:56Orange county deputy district attorney mat murphy: >> Two girls went to their local post office, and they looked and there was rodney alcala's photo ten most wanted list.
00:08:07And they looked up and said, "oh, my gosh, that's mr.
00:08:08" >> Harold Dow: The girls knew alcala as john burger, their counselor at an all-girls' summer camp in new hampshire.
00:08:19>> They reported to the dean.
00:08:21He calls the authorities.
00:08:23They arrest him, take him into custody.
00:08:25I get a phone call from the saying, "we've got your man in custody.
00:08:29" >> Harold Dow: In fact, rodney alcala had been hiding in plain sight for the last three years.
00:08:39>> Rodney alcala, after raping and almost killing tali shapiro, he fled to new york.
00:08:43He made friends.
00:08:44He charmed people.
00:08:48 film school, and he was living the life, kind of the bohemian lifestyle of the FILM STUDENT IN THE EARLY '70s.
00:08:55>> Harold Dow: In august, 1971, with alcala finally in custody, detective hodle had a chance to speak to him.
00:09:03>> I asked him, "so tell me about the tali shapiro " and basically he says, "oh, i want to forget all about that.
00:09:12I don't want to talk about things that rod alcala did," as if it was a different person.
00:09:19>> Harold Dow: But with tali living abroad and unavailable for trial, prosecutors had no choice but to enter into a plea agreement.
00:09:27>> Part of the problem with the prosecution back then is that tali shapiro's family had relocated down to mexico, so i think that created some logistical problems for the d.a.
00:09:34Back then.
00:09:36>> Harold Dow: In 1972, rodney alcala pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of child molestation.
00:09:44>> He ultimately was convicted of child molesting.
00:09:49He received one year to life back in the old indeterminate sentencing laws, one year to life, and the parole board let him go after 34 months, after what he did to tali shapiro.
00:09:57>> Harold Dow: Indeterminate sentencing meant a parole board, not a judge, would determine how much time an inmate spent in prison.
00:10:05>> The emphasis was on rehabilitation back then, and he was able to charm the psychiatrist just like he charmed his victims.
00:10:15I mean, this guy should have never been released based on the crime itself.
00:10:18>> Harold Dow: But less than three years later, rodney alcala was a free man again.
00:10:25.. I was flabbergasted, to say the least.
00:10:27It just amazed me.
00:10:29>> Harold Dow: And alcala had no trouble charming his way back into the swing of things.
00:10:35>> He was hired by the "los angeles times" to work as a typesetter.
00:10:39He took photos at weddings, and he was a registered sex offender during all of that, and nobody ever checked.
00:10:46>> Harold Dow: We understand that rodney alcala was actually " >> that's right.
00:10:55>> Please welcome rodney alcala.
00:10:56>> Harold Dow: And he was chosen.
00:10:57>> That's right.
00:10:58>> Well, I like bananas, so I'll take one.
00:10:59>> Number one!
00:11:00Bachelor number one!
00:11:01All right!
00:11:04>> Harold Dow: But the decision to release rodney alcala would have catastrophic consequences.
00:11:09>> His thrill is seeking his prey, capturing, torturing.
00:11:14He's a sadist of the highest order.
00:11:17What he learned in prison was, "i'm not going to let my victims " >> say hello to rodney alcala.
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00:14:42>> Harold Dow: It was the spring of 1979 in southern california, and the disco era was in full swing.
00:15:53But in huntington beach, 12- year-old robin samsoe enjoyed far simpler pleasures.
00:16:00.. to have fun.
00:16:03>> Harold Dow: Bridget wilvurt was robin's best friend.
00:16:06>> Everybody could be complaining about being bored, and me and robin would find ourselves doing cartwheels and back walkovers.
00:16:16>> Harold Dow: The other love of robin's life was her mom, marianne.
00:16:21>> She was probably the most loving child a mother could have.
00:16:25Everything she did, she did to please me.
00:16:35I loved her warmth.
00:16:36>> Harold Dow: And she was the little sister older brothers robert and tim doted on.
00:16:39>> She loved ballet.
00:16:40She loved dancing.
00:16:41She loved gymnastics.
00:16:42>> She was the glue to the family.
00:16:45>> She was my best friend.
00:16:50>> Harold Dow: On june 20, 1979, robin was going to start her first day of work, answering phones at the ballet studio in exchange for lessons.
00:16:59But first, she planned to play for a few hours with bridget.
00:17:04>> She arrived at my house at .. gosh, I want to say 11:00.
00:17:08How much fun can we have during that time?
00:17:12And then I had a great idea: Let's go down to the beach and have a cartwheel competition.
00:17:19>> Harold Dow: Shortly before 00 the girls left bridget's apartment and headed across the pacific coast highway to the beach.
00:17:30>> I could definitely see a gentleman with dark hair.
00:17:37.. he honed in on us .. really like a shark in the water honing in on a seal.
00:17:43And he goes, "can I take your girls' pictures?
00:17:48I'm in a photography class, or " " and all of a sudden, out of nowhere pops up jackie young, my neighbor.
00:18:03You know, she goes, "bridget, is everything okay?
00:18:05" .. he took that camera, turned his head down, and you could almost see, like, smoke coming off his dress shoes.
00:18:20.. he was gone.
00:18:21>> Harold Dow: Shaken, robin and bridget turned to go back home.
00:18:26>> And robin had put everything into her bag, and she's like, " I go, "take my bike.
00:18:38Take my bike.
00:18:39It's right downstairs.
00:18:42" >> Harold Dow: That was the last time anyone saw robin.
00:18:52>> She was supposed to be home 4:30, 5:00 from her lesson.
00:18:57>> Harold Dow: When her ballet teacher called to say she hadn't made it to class, her family immediately called 911.
00:19:07>> We spent the next-- I did, anyway-- hours and hours riding up and down the path.
00:19:14>> Harold Dow: On your bicycle?
00:19:15>> Uh-huh.
00:19:16>> Harold Dow: Looking for your sister.
00:19:18>> For hours and hours.
00:19:19>> Harold Dow: The hours turned into days.
00:19:23Robin's mother feared the worst.
00:19:26>> It was probably the most horrifying time of all, not knowing.
00:19:31>> Harold Dow: Police continually questioned the one person they thought might know her best friend, bridget.
00:19:42.. I said... I go, "it was the man, that man that took " I really was the only person that could tell you the exact color of his eyes, the height of his cheekbones, the color of his skin, just every detail.
00:20:03>> Harold Dow: On july 2, 12 days after robin last said goodbye to her friend and rode off on her bike, detectives delivered the news no one wanted to hear.
00:20:14>> They said, "let's go see " " I said, "that's my baby.
00:20:22Of course I want to see her.
00:20:22" they said, "because it took us " >> I said, "what's wrong with you people?
00:20:33How many little girls with long " the tears were coming down his face too, and he said, "there " >> this was pretty much the exact spot where robin samsoe's remains were located.
00:20:46>> Harold Dow: A fire crew conducting routine fire- prevention maintenance found robin's remains in a remote location more than 40 miles from where she was last seen.
00:20:57 matt murphy has visited the site many times.
00:21:02>> And there were 12 days for the animals to scavenge robin's remains.
00:21:07By the time the fire crew actually found her body, she was just bones.
00:21:12>> Harold Dow: The pressure was on to find the killer.
00:21:16Bridget's description resulted in this composite sketch, which was released to the media all over southern california.
00:21:25>> His parole officer saw that and called the detectives and said, "look, there's a guy that used to be on my case load.
00:21:38You really need to take a look at him.
00:21:39" >> Harold Dow: It had been nearly 11 years since alcala had left eight-year-old tali shapiro for dead and almost gotten away with it.
00:21:46But alcala was easy to find this time.
00:21:49He lived with his parents in monterey park, a stone's throw from the mountains where robin's remains were located.
00:21:58>> Rodney alcala is a intelligent, well-mannered, pleasant, fun, outgoing, great individual.
00:22:07>> Harold Dow: Beth kelleher was alcala's girlfriend at the time.
00:22:10Were you in love with him?
00:22:11>> Yeah.
00:22:14>> Harold Dow: Beth was 22 when she met alcala in the spring of 1979.
00:22:20They shared a common interest, photography.
00:22:22What did you think of his photography work?
00:22:25>> I saw a lot of pictures of girls, although that didn't bother me at all.
00:22:31>> Harold Dow: Young girls?
00:22:32>> Uh, young girls.
00:22:35.. ah...
00:22:3912, 13, TO PROBABLY ABOUT 30s.
00:22:43>> What's your best time?
00:22:46>> Harold Dow: Before meeting beth, rodney alcala charmed other women.
00:22:50>> The best time is at night, night time.
00:22:52>> Harold Dow: He's bachelor number one in this episode of "the dating game" from september 1978.
00:22:58>> That's a perfect example of the charm of rodney alcala.
00:23:01When you watched him, he was charming.
00:23:04>> We're going to have a great time together, cheryl.
00:23:05>> He was funny.
00:23:07He joked.
00:23:09>> I'm called the banana, and i lookeally good.
00:23:12(Laughs) >> and he actually got picked.
00:23:16>> Number one!
00:23:17Bachelor number one!
00:23:18All right.
00:23:20(Applause) >> Harold Dow: So when news spread of robin's june 20 disappearance and then murder, beth had no reason to suspect her boyfriend.
00:23:28They had just spent a weekend together in northern california.
00:23:32>> There was no difference in personality, no difference in the things we did, the things we talked about.
00:23:40>> Harold Dow: But beth couldn't account for his whereabouts on june 20.
00:23:43>> As they really focused in on alcala, they learned that he .. nobody could account for his whereabouts at the time.
00:23:51>> Harold Dow: And investigators soon learned that alcala had added to his record.
00:23:57>> Rodney alcala was on bail for a kidnapping rape out at riverside that had just been committed, you know, within a couple of months of the murder of robin samsoe.
00:24:08The more they learned about rodney alcala, the more perfectly rodney alcala fit into the profile, essentially, of the person that they were looking for.
00:24:18>> Harold Dow: Rodney alcala was arrested on july 24 for the kidnap and murder of robin samsoe, but the struggle to prove it had only just begun.
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00:29:26>> Harold Dow: The name rodney alcala, what does that name mean to you today?
00:29:34>> It means evil.
00:29:37It means horror.
00:29:41It meaanger.
00:29:47>> Harold Dow: Robin samsoe's mother, marianne, was convinced rodney alcala had murdered her 12-year-old daughter as soon as he was arrested in july 1979.
00:29:53So were the huntington beach police.
00:29:57>> We're going to treat this as a homicide now, and he becomes a prime suspect.
00:30:01>> Every one of those detectives was sure that they had the right guy.
00:30:04>> Harold Dow: But behind the scenes, investigators were working feverishly to shore up what they knew was a shaky case against alcala.
00:30:13>> They conducted an interview.
00:30:14They asked him, you know, "you ever go to the beach and take " and he said, well, from time to time, he would do that.
00:30:21And they said, "any pictures of " and rodney alcala kind of looked up and he said, "not that i " >> Harold Dow: And alcala said he wasn't the curly-haired photographer bridget had described.
00:30:32>> He essentially told police he hadn't been to huntington beach at ellis said huntington beach police got an unexpected tip when alcala's sister came to visit her brother in jail.
00:30:45The conversation was being recorded.
00:30:56>> One point he mentioned him having a storage locker in seattle, washington, that the cops don't know about.
00:30:59 "they don't know about this, so do me a favor-- get stuff out of there.
00:31:02" >> Harold Dow: What alcala didn't know was that police had found a receipt for the locker during a search of his home at the time of his arrest.
00:31:11>> They beat her there.
00:31:12They get inside, and there's the mother lode.
00:31:15>> Harold Dow: Inside the locker, a cache of photos.
00:31:18>> Hundreds, if not thousands, of these different images.
00:31:25There are dozens upon dozens of these young women that in the pictures clearly are in positions of supreme vulnerability.
00:31:30>> Harold Dow: Police learned alcala had rented the storage facility and moved his belongings there nine days after robin samsoe's remains were discovered, so they wondered what he could be hiding.
00:31:42They found no photos of robin or bridget, but shots of this young girl roller-skating along a familiar boardwalk caught their eye.
00:31:58>> Those detectives, being in huntington beach, actually patrol that area.
00:32:02>> Harold Dow: The area was sunset beach, near huntington beach, the very place alcala had denied visiting.
00:32:05Police released the photo, hoping someone would come forward.
00:32:08>> This girl, she ran over to my front door.
00:32:12She said, "lori, you're on the front page of the paper!
00:32:13" >> Harold Dow: Lori weurtz, the girl in the photos, was 15 years old.
00:32:21>> My friend patty and I were at sunset beach.
00:32:24We just saw this man with a big camera.
00:32:27First, he was trying to tell us that he worked for a magazine and telling us that he was in a contest.
00:32:35And, you know, I thought, "well, shoot.
00:32:37I'll be in a magazine.
00:32:37" >> Harold Dow: Laurie's friend had marked the date in her diary, june 20.
00:32:44>> That was the same day about two miles away from where robin samsoe was kidnapped, so that photograph was of incredible importance.
00:32:53>> Harold Dow: Two other 16- year-olds said alcala had approached them on the beach the same day.
00:33:00>> He'd approached these teenage girls, and he would use essentially the same line.
00:33:03And then at the end of the encounters, he tried to get them into his car.
00:33:08>> Harold Dow: With several independent witnesses identifying alcala as the photographer on the beach on june 20, police now formed a that alcala had been out hunting for prey.
00:33:20So when alcala ran into robin a second time, he wouldn't be denied.
00:33:26>> This is the street that she would have been riding her bike up.
00:33:29>> Harold Dow: Do you think she got in the car willingly?
00:33:31>> Robin samsoe was the one .. she was only 12.
00:33:36She was innocent.
00:33:37She was naive, and she was trusting, and she was also very late.
00:33:40Just like he promised tali shapiro.
00:33:42No doubt he convinced robin to get into the car, too.
00:33:46>> Harold Dow: Police were never able to recover robin's bicycle, and there was still no forensic proof tying alcala to robin.
00:33:54Detectives went back to the contents of the storage locker hoping for more clues.
00:33:59>> Buried under all this stuff was this tiny little silk bag filled with earrings.
00:34:04>> Harold Dow: Alcala claimed those were his earrings, but when police showed the jewelry to robin's mother, marianne, she recognized a pair of gold ball studs that she said robin often borrowed.
00:34:19How do you think they ended up in rodney alcala's possession?
00:34:27>> You mean after he killed my child, after he murdered her?
00:34:35I think he was one of these kind of predators that keeps trophies.
00:34:38>> Harold Dow: And investigators learned that in the days following robin's murder, alcala began to dramatically change his appearance.
00:34:46>> In 24 hours of the release of that composite, which looks exactly like him, he made arrangements to cut his hair.
00:34:52Totally different.
00:34:53The long, curly hair was gone.
00:34:57>> Harold Dow: Around the same time, alcala had also changed the carpeting in the back of his car.
00:35:01He told his girlfriend, beth, he was trying to get rid of the smell of spilled gasoline.
00:35:07But to investigators, the whole story stunk.
00:35:11>> So at that point, those were all the nuts and bolts you need for a successful prosecution.
00:35:18>> Harold Dow: In february, 1980, nearly one year after robin samsoe's murder, rodney alcala went on trial.
00:35:25>> Over the course of two and a half months, there were almost 50 witnesses that testified.
00:35:28It was a very long, very difficult case.
00:35:31>> Harold Dow: The jury convicted alcala and sentenced him to death.
00:35:38>> The courts changed my daughter's life, but maybe it will save someone else's by him being gone.
00:35:43>> Harold Dow: But the relief would be short-lived.
00:35:45>> Today, in a 5-1 decision, the california state supreme court ruled that rodney alcala did not receive a fair trial.
00:35:53>> Harold Dow: The decision would devastate robin's mother, but the fight for justice was far from over.
00:36:00>> You know, there's only one perpetrator.
00:36:04They're the stone, but the ripples keep going-- and there's victims and victims and victims and victims.
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00:41:34>> Harold Dow: After the california supreme court overturned rodney alcala's first conviction in 1984, he was tried and convicted a second time.
00:41:43>> We, the jury in the above entitled action, find the defendant, rodney james alcala, ..
00:41:53>> Death is the only penalty that could ever be rendered in a case such as this.
00:41:57>> Harold Dow: But once again, the verdict was overturned.
00:42:13>> We've gone through a lot of hell because of that animal.
00:42:15>> Harold Dow: In 2003, the task of putting together the case again fell to matt murphy, who in 1979, was about the same age as robin samsoe.
00:42:20You are dealing with a guy who made a career out of working the system.
00:42:23Two trials, two convictions, twice sentenced to death, twice overturned.
00:42:28How do you prepare for a case like this?
00:42:32>> When they reversed it, they also removed a substantial amount of evidence.
00:42:35So when it wound up on my desk, we had to basically start from ground zero and work our way up.
00:42:40>> Harold Dow: Murphy would soon get a huge break.
00:42:42During the 22 years the samsoe case had wandered through the appellate courts, d.n.a.
00:42:49Technology had caught up with rodney alcala.
00:42:52Now los angeles cold case squads suddenly linked him to three other unsolved murders.
00:42:59 technology was very strong as it pointed to one person and one person only, and that was rodney alcala.
00:43:05>> Harold Dow: Los angeles gina satriano charged alcala for the murders of 18-year-old jill barkum, 27- year-old georgia wixted, and 32- year-old charlotte lamb, who all had been killed between november 1977 and june 1978.
00:43:25>> Right at that moment, we realized not only is rodney alcala the vicious murderer in our case, but in fact he is the serial killer that we always suspected him to be.
00:43:34>> Harold Dow: There was also evidence linking alcala to yet murder-- 21-year- old jill parenteau, who had been killed just six days before robin samsoe disappeared.
00:43:48>> Jill parenteau's case was tied to rodney alcala back in 1979.
00:43:51>> Harold Dow: Prosecutors had dropped the case at the time because they felt it was too weak, but authorities now saw it fit the pattern of the other murders.
00:44:01>> In addition to the sexual assault and the fact they were all left naked and posed, and the beatings and traumas to the head, each of these women were strangled with ligatures, with some sort of a tie around their neck.
00:44:16>> Rodney alcala was committing murders all over the place in an effort to work the system, in an effort to confuse law enforcement.
00:44:22>> Harold Dow: And different jurisdictions.
00:44:23>> That's right.
00:44:24>> Harold Dow: Hoping the law enforcement would never talk to each other.
00:44:25>> That's right.
00:44:26And for years, they didn't.
00:44:27>> Harold Dow: Believing they had enough evidence to convict rodney alcala as a serial killer, matt murphy and gina satriano wanted to prosecute the five los angeles-area murders together.
00:44:39>> Having them together really paints the true picture of who rodney alcala is, and gives the jury a realistic vision of how he commits his crimes.
00:44:50>> Harold Dow: Two california counties had never shared a murder case, and alcala successfully fought off the joint trial for years.
00:44:58But the california state supreme court ultimately ruled for the prosecution and last january, almost 31 years after robin samsoe's murder, rodney alcala went on trial again.
00:45:12>> One of the many things that hurts me is that that was the last face she saw.
00:45:17And that bothers me, because he's so ugly and he's so evil.
00:45:21>> Harold Dow: The samsoes are now joined by four other families.
00:45:26>> I'm dede parenteau, jill parenteau's sister.
00:45:32>> Harold Dow: For whom the pain of loss is still as raw as 30 years ago.
00:45:34>> The question was always there and frequently asked by friends did they ever found out who georgia's killer was?
00:45:4125 Years of reliving that terrible time and always same answer: no.
00:45:48>> For so many years, I just felt like I was always looking over my shoulder.
00:45:53There was somebody out there that had murdered my sister, and where was he?
00:45:58And was he coming back?
00:45:59>> Your heart goes out to them.
00:46:01We've had somebody to hate for 31 years.
00:46:03They haven't.
00:46:06>> This is the case that we want to fight.
00:46:09>> Harold Dow: Matt murphy knows getting a conviction won't be enough.
00:46:11>> We've got to get not only a conviction, but we've got to get a conviction that's going to be upheld on appeal.
00:46:15>> Harold Dow: Complicating the legal challenge for prosecutors, rodney alcala is serving as his own attorney.
00:46:29>> I am presenting evidence that ..
00:46:30>> Harold Dow: Even though he stands accused of five vicious murders, as rodney alcala addresses the court, it is clear that for him, one case stands apart.
00:46:38 on june the 20th 1979, robin samsoe left bridget ..
00:46:45>> He knew the facts cold, and he'd spent 30 years on death row memorizing every single photograph, every single police report, every single detail of the case.
00:46:56>> Harold Dow: He had even written a book about the samsoe case, and alcala is so eager to defend himself, he takes the stand.
00:47:02>> By taking the stand, it allowed the door to be opened to so many things.
00:47:06>> Harold Dow: Murphy could now attack alcala using statements he made in his book.
00:47:11>> It was published in 1994, tests were conducted.
00:47:16So he was married to a certain set of facts.
00:47:19>> Harold Dow: Like the fact surrounding that trophy bag of earrings found in alcala's storage shed.
00:47:26 samsoe has ever come forward and said robin had pierced ears.
00:47:38>> Harold Dow: Alcala had disputed the evidence that one pair had been worn by robin samsoe.
00:47:41But because of new d.n.a.
00:47:41Evidence, he could not dispute that another pair belonged to another of his victims, charlotte lamb.
00:47:48>> In his book, he said his sister christine gave him those earrings.
00:47:5127 Years later, we were able to test those earrings, and we got a d.n.a. hit for charlotte lamb.
00:47:58>> Harold Dow: Undaunted, alcala called robin's mother as a defense witness.
00:48:02>> It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life, having him ask me questions.
00:48:08>> Harold Dow: Desperate to impeach marianne's character, alcala confronts her about her testimony at his first trial, when she reportedly brought a gun to court.
00:48:18He asked you if you brought a gun to court on the first trial, and you answered?
00:48:25>> Yes, I did.
00:48:27>> Harold Dow: Were you going it shoot him?
00:48:28>> I was going to shoot him right between the eyes if i could have gotten a shot at him.
00:48:32>> Harold Dow: What stopped you?
00:48:38>> Robin's hand on my wrist, if the truth be known.
00:48:42All of a sudden, I smelled her shampoo, and I felt this warmth on my hand, and I couldn't get my hand out of my purse.
00:48:54>> Harold Dow: An even bigger ..
00:48:55>> He offered no explanation for the l.a. cases at all.
00:48:57>> Harold Dow:..Ignoring the l.a. cases.
00:48:58>> That was bizarre.
00:49:00It was as if those victims were invisible to him.
00:49:03The scientific evidence in the cases totally overwhelmed him.
00:49:08It was over his head, and he had no idea how to challenge it.
00:49:12>> In the four los angeles cases, they devised to secretly and dishonestly attempting to control the outcome of the unrelated samsoe case.
00:49:24Magical thinking.
00:49:24>> So magical thinking?
00:49:25>> Harold Dow: In his own closing argument, matt murphy ends on what is for him, too, the heart of the trial.
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00:52:56>> Jay Dow: When harold dow died suddenly last month, he had not quite finished his work on the story of rodney alcala.
00:53:03What you are about to see is the stunning conclusion to this tale, told mostly in harold's voice.
00:53:10You will also hear me telling parts of the story he wasn't able to record.
00:53:19>> Your stomach's in a knot.
00:53:23It's up in your throat, and you .. you're like a zombie walking around.
00:53:29>> Jay Dow: It's a familiar feeling for robin samsoe's family, as they wait for the third jury over a period of 30 years to decide rodney alcala's fate.
00:53:41>> We, the jury in the above entitled action, find the defendant, rodney james alcala, guilty of the crime of murder in the first degree.
00:53:52>> Jay Dow: The jury takes just one day to find alcala guilty of robin samsoe's murder.
00:53:57He's also found guilty of murdering the four other women-- jill parenteau, jill barkolm, georgia wixted and charlotte lamb.
00:54:07>> Rodney alcala absolutely, 100% deserves to die for what he did.
00:54:13>> Jay Dow: In a separate penalty phase, to ensure that alcala gets the ultimate punishment, the prosecution called a ghost from his past to the stand.
00:54:24>> My name is tali shapiro.
00:54:25I'm alive because I have a guardian angel.
00:54:28>> Jay Dow: Tali shapiro, who was kidnapped and left for dead in 1968, was not prepared for what rodney alcala said to her.
00:54:36>> He apologized.
00:54:39And I couldn't even tell you