Photo: (L) Rodney Acala on "The Dating Game" in 1978 and (R) Acala, present day
A man being called the “Dating Game Killer” was just indicted in two New York murders that happened back in the 1970s, even as he’s jailed for a number of other murders.
Rodney Acala, 67, is already sitting on death row after being convicted in February 2010 of murdering four California women as well as a 12-year-old girl between 1977 and 1979. Acala is now being charged with the killing of an additional two women in New York, Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said, “Ms. Crilley, a 23-year-old TWA flight attendant, was found raped and strangled inside her Upper East Side apartment in June of 1971. Ms. Hover, who was also 23 and living in Manhattan, was found murdered in Westchester County in 1977.”
In 1978, Acala was on the popular game show “The Dating Game,” and was the winning bachelor in his episode. At the time, he was actually already a convicted rapist. In 1968, authorities found him guilty of raping an 8-year-old girl, and he served a 34-month sentence.
During their investigation of Acala, police reportedly found dozens of photographs of women and children in a Seattle storage locker he used. The Orange County district attorney’s office stated that earrings belonging to Acala’s 12-year-old victim, Robin Samsoe, were also found.
When the photos were discovered, authorities asked for the public’s help in identifying the women and children in them to determine if any were additional victims.
Just one year before appearing on the dating show, prosecutors say Acala raped, sodomized and killed Jill Barcomb, 18, and Georgia Wixted, 27, in California. Barcomb after several blows with a rock to the face, was strangled to death by pants and a belt being tied around her neck. She was discovered in a mountainous area near Hollywood. Wixted was beaten with the claw end of a hammer, and also strangled to death, except with a nylon stocking. Her body was found in her Malibu apartment.
In June of 1979, Alcala beat, raped and strangled Charlotte Lamb, 33, in El Segundo, and that same month raped and strangled Jill Parenteau, 21, in Burbank.
What was probably a smart move for “Dating Game” bachorlette, Cheryl Bradshaw after Acala won her over on the show, was the fact that in the end, she declined her date with him.
“Cold cases are not forgotten cases—our prosecutors, investigators, and partners in the NYPD do not give up,” said Vance. “These cases were built one brick at a time, as each new lead brought us closer to where we are today.”