Rodney James Alcala, dubbed the “Dating Game Killer,” died of natural causes in a California prison early Saturday morning, according to corrections officials.
The California Department of Corrections said Alcala, 77, died of natural causes at 1:43 a.m. Saturday at a hospital near the Corcoran State Prison, where he was being held on death for the murders of four women and a 12-year-old girl.
Alcala, dubbed the “Dating Game Killer” after appearing as a contestant on the TV show The Dating Game in 1978, was originally sentenced to death in 1980 for the kidnapping and murder of Robin Samsoe, 12, a year earlier.
In 1984, the California Supreme Court overturned the judgement, and Alcala was granted a new trial, which resulted in a death sentence being handed down in 1986.
The sentence was overturned by a Federal Appeals court in 2003, but prosecutors presented DNA evidence linking him to the 1977 murders of Jill Barcomb, 18, and Georgia Wixted, 27; the 1978 murder of Charlotte Lamb, 32; and the 1979 slaying of Jill Parenteau, 21.
Alcala was convicted in 2010 of five counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death.
In 2013, he pleaded guilty to the murders of Cornelia Crilley in 1971 and Ellen Jane Hanover in 1977. He received a sentence ranging from 25 years to life in prison.
In 2016, Wyoming prosecutors charged Alcala with the 1978 murder of Christine Ruth Thornton, 28, who was six months pregnant at the time of her death.
Alcala has been linked to other deaths in California, Washington state, New York, New Hampshire, and Arizona, according to investigators.
Prosecutors claimed Alcala, a photographer, used his camera to entice victims.