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Jury deliberations begin in Alcala murder trial

February 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The fate of accused serial killer Rodney Alcala is now in the hands of an Orange County jury. Alcala is accused of killing a 12-year-old girl in the 1970s, along with four other women.The judge read instructions to the jury Tuesday afternoon, so now the fate of Rodney James Alcala, whom prosecutors call a "predatory monster," is in the hands of the jury.

"Robin Samsoe's day in court is today. You make sure that he is held responsible for what happened to that little girl," said Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy.

In closing arguments the prosecutor pleaded with jurors not to let Rodney Alcala get away with murder. Alcala, 66, is accused of torturing and slaying four women in Los Angeles County and a 12-year-old Robin Samsoe, from Huntington Beach, in the 1970s.

Prosecutors allege Alcala kidnapped Samsoe on her way to ballet class after witnesses saw him photographing her at the beach. Her body was later found in the Los Angeles foothills.

"He got her into his car and he drove her up to those mountains and Rodney Alcala smashed her face in when she was still alive," said Murphy. "He brutalized her."

Alcala, often speaking in a rambling monotone, is representing himself in this trial. He told jurors he was at Knott's Berry Farm when Samsoe was kidnapped.

"The statements that I've made are, one, that I didn't abduct and didn't kill Robin Samsoe," said Alcala.

Prosecutors say Alcala changed his appearance a day after police released a suspect sketch after Samsoe's disappearance. Prosecutors allege earrings worn by Samsoe were found in Alcala's storage unit in Seattle, where he moved after her murder.

Alcala says they were his earrings, but he could not explain how those earrings were found in the same pouch as rose-shaped earrings belonging to another victim, Charlotte Lamb. Lamb's DNA was found on the second pair of earrings.

"It's been hard. It's hard what we've had to deal with. We've done two other trials, but this one was hard," said Robert Samsoe, Robin's brother.

Twice Alcala has been convicted and sentenced to death for Robin Samsoe's murder. Twice the convictions were reversed on appeal.

Before this third trial, prosecutors allege forensic evidence linked Alcala to the murders of Lamb, Jill Barcomb, Georgia Wixted and Jill Parenteau.

Alcala put up no defense in those four cases.

Jury deliberations are now under way. If convicted, Alcala could face the death penalty.


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