In 1978, Alcala was a contestant on the game show The dating game. Host Jim Lange introduced him as a “successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed.” Between takes, you might find him parachuting or riding a motorbike.
He won the contest, but her “date” refused to date him because she found him “scary”.
Acala was sent to death row in Orange County in 1980 for the kidnapping and murder in 1979 of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe. But that conviction was overturned in 1984 by the California Supreme Court, and Alcala got a new trial.
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In 1986, he was sentenced to death a second time for the murder of Samsoe. But an appeals court overturned that conviction again and he got a third trial. By this time, the technology had improved and Acala’s DNA was introduced into the trial. His DNA matched evidence of other murders and he was charged with the murders of four other women.
In 2010, Acala was convicted of five counts of first degree murder by an Orange County jury. He was convicted of the murder of Samoe, as well as the 1977 deaths of 18-year-old Jill Barcomb and 27-year-old Georgia Wixted. He was also involved in the 1978 death of Charlotte Lamb, 32, and the 1979 death of Jill Parenteau, 21.
Legal history did not end there. In 2012, Acala was extradited to New York for the murder of Cornelia Crilley in 1971 and the murder of Ellen Jane Hover in 1977. He pleaded guilty to these charges and in 2013 was sentenced in New York to 25 years in prison. for life.
In 2016, Wyoming prosecutors charged Acala with the murder of Christine Ruth Thornton, 28, who was six months pregnant. He was also linked to other murders in Los Angeles and Marin County, California; Seattle, Washington; New York; New Hampshire and Arizona.
Prosecutors admitted they would never know the extent of the Acala murder spree.
Netflix has acquired a package built around Ian MacAllister McDonald’s Black List script Rodney & Sheryl. Anna Kendrick comes attached to the star and Chloe Okuno to direct a drama based on Acala’s appearance in the game show. Kendrick will play Cheryl Bradshaw, the contestant.
The film revolves around the events of the game show. Roy Lee and Miri Yoon produce for Vertigo Entertainment, with JD Lifshitz and Raphael Margules for BoulderLight Pictures. Russ Posternak, Andrew Deane and Stephen Crawford of Industry Entertainment, and Kendrick will be executive producers.