Courts - California Serial slaying case in hands of the jury

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- A jury is set to begin deliberations in the case of a man accused of five Southern California serial slayings in the late 1970s.

Rodney Alcala, 66, who is acting as his own lawyer, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of first-degree murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.

In his closing argument Tuesday, Orange County prosecutor Matt Murphy said Alcala is either guilty or had "the worst bad luck in the history of bad luck."

Murphy said there was little chance a second person matching Alcala's description was at an Orange County beach the same day 12-year old Robin Samsoe was abducted.

Prosecutors have relied on witnesses who testified about seeing a curly-haired photographer taking pictures of Samsoe, her friend and other teenagers on the beach minutes before Samsoe disappeared. Photos of one of the girls were later found in Alcala's possession.

Alcala presented little evidence against charges that he killed four women in Los Angeles County.

But he has fought the charge of killing Samsoe, saying it was another man who was spotted that day.

He pointed out that witnesses said he was dark-skinned and 175 pounds, when he is light-skinned and weighs 150 pounds.

Murphy presented testimony by Samsoe's mother that a pair of gold ball earrings found in Alcala's possession had belonged to her daughter.

"He wants so badly to get away with it," Murphy told jurors. "He wants a free murder. ... I'm asking you, I plead with you, use your common sense and convict Rodney Alcala."

Alcala had been convicted and sentenced to death twice before in Samsoe's murder, but both convictions were overturned.

Murphy has said investigators discovered Alcala's DNA in the bodies of victims Georgia Wixted, 27, of Malibu; Charlotte Lamb, 32, of Santa Monica; and Jill Barcomb, 18, who had just moved to Los Angeles from Oneida, N.Y.

Prosecutors said the body of another victim, Jill Parenteau, yielded no DNA but her nude body was posed in a similar fashion as another of the dead women and Alcala was at the same bar as Parenteau the night she was murdered.

Published: Thu, Feb 25, 2010


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