Described as “a soulless monster that tortured and murdered women because he liked it,” Alcala’s mercuric-like personality, supported by a criminal justice system that believed monsters like him could be rehabilitated, was allowed to stay a member of a society that he simply saw as prey in the waiting.
Investigators now believe that Alcala probably kidnapped, tortured and murdered dozens of young girls and women. He once worked as a camp counselor, for a major newspaper, and even passed himself off as a professional photographer, really though someone who used his skill behind the camera to identify yet new victims. He was living in a target rich environment of potential victims, and all it took was for him to pick his next victim, much like a lion in the jungle will identify, stalk, and kill his prey. The difference between the lion and Alcala, however, was that the lion killed to live, and Alcala raped and murdered because he just liked to do it.
Alcala, now 66, has been behind bars since 1979, but many investigators continued to believe he was responsible for an untold number of unsolved, and perhaps undetected violent crimes. Alcala always appeared to believe he was smarter than those around him, and with his alleged IQ, he probably was. Called “the Dating Game Killer” because he was once a contestant on the TV series, his M.O. included convincing girls and women he could help them on their way to a professional modeling and acting career by virtue of his photographic skills. Many of his believed victims were found posed in grotesque positions, his likely attempt to make the reality of the rapes, tortures and murders meet the fantasized pictures that he held tightly in his mind.
While smart, Alcala did not know that his semen, left on a number of victims, would someday in the future lead to his arrest for murder. He couldn’t have foreseen that DNA would come into vogue in the mid 1990’s and be used to link him to past victims. Like other serial killers, Alcala also took trophies from his victims, in his case ear rings, something he probably used to help him psychologically relive the terrible crimes he committed against his many known and still unidentified victims. He took pictures of his victims and concealed among the over 2,000 pictures of girls and women that police found in his residence and in a secret storage locker are likely the pictures, without names, of other yet to be identified victims. Many of the pictures were pornographic in nature, with some depicting Alcala engaged in sex acts with girls, women, and boys. Investigators have now begun releasing head shots of the people found in the thousands of individual photographs in hope of both identifying the person and determining if the individual met a similar fate to those he victimized from New York to California prior to his last arrest.
Alcala was really the worst of the worst. Not only a rapist and murderer, he liked to torture his victims, sometimes strangling and then resuscitating his victim, only to take them to the brink of death again before he finally tired of them and killed them. A true psychopath, he saw others as only objects for his entertainment, human playthings that he stalked, broke and then unceremoniously disposed of.
Alcala once studied under famed director Roman Polanski, a man who himself gave a 13-year-old girl a Quaalude and champagne and then raped her. While some women found him to be obnoxious and creepy, he found ways to intimidate his victims, much in the same way he tried to intimidate the witnesses in his trial where he chose to represent himself. He even when so far as to pose questions to himself during trial. By representing himself he was also able to obtain copies of the thousands of photographs in police custody, probably to entertain himself by reliving his crimes, possibly reveling in the fact that other victims were yet to be identified among those pictured. A con man to the end, he used his years in jail to write a novel claiming his innocence while suing the California prison system for not providing him with a low-fat diet and for an alleged slip and fall claim.
And while Alcala was the real criminal, the real monster in this decades old case of serial murder and mayhem, it was the criminal justice system that allowed him to get in and out of jail. And time after time when released, he would immediately seek out a new victim to assault and murder, his way of both defying the system, making a mockery of it while making it and society pay for sentencing him in the first place. Arrogance knew no limit in this man, but it was the system that had the chance to lock him away after he brutally beat and viciously raped his initial 8-year-old victim, but instead chose to belief that a cold-blooded, calculated killing- machine like Alcala could somehow be rehabilitated if he just heard the right words from a caring prison psychologist. The only words Alcala wanted to hear were “you are considerably improved, therefore you are free to go,” after which his brutal and savage attacks on the unsuspecting would begin all over again.
Alcala was and is one of the all time “poster boys” for a one-strike law for violent sexual predators. Had he been put away for life after sadistically raping and torturing his first victim, dozens or more future victims could still be alive today. He was a vicious human tsunami that ravished victims from coast to coast, all the while laughing at the system that would turn him loose back upon society, his own personal killing field containing endless potential victims.
The blood of Alcala’s victims cry out for a change in the law; a change in the system. As adults we try to protect those closest to us, the ones that may not be able to defend themselves against human monsters like Alcala. How do we face our friends, our children and our grandchildren and say we support, endorse and even elect those that would turn someone like Alcala loose to run amok among our citizens. We should all be ashamed that we allow a criminal justice system that would give a person like Alcala so many “strikes” before we finally took him out of his deadly game!