A 5-time killer on death row at San Quentin can be extradited to New York state to stand trial in 2 other murder cases, a Marin judge ruled Tuesday.
Rodney Alcala, 68, was indicted in New York last year in the strangling deaths of 2 women in the 1970s. Prosecutors sought charges based on renewed investigations, technological advances and information derived from Alcala's trial in California.
Alcala, whose extradition lawyers are Marin public defenders David Brown and Peter Arian, fought the extradition request, saying he needs to be here to prepare his death penalty appeal. New York has no death penalty, the defense attorneys noted.
"Our goal is to protect his right to a meaningful appeal of his California death sentence," Brown and Arian said in a statement. "He cannot effectively fight against the death penalty in California if he is taken to New York at this time. Despite today's ruling, this is a significant constitutional issue that we plan to litigate in the appellate courts."
Judge Paul Haakenson, who ruled that Alcala can be extradited, stayed the ruling to give Alcala time to appeal it. The judge gave Alcala until March 9 to file his appeal, with extradition tentatively set for April 6 unless a higher court intervenes.
Alcala was sentenced to death in Orange County in 2010 for the murders of 4 women and a 12-year-old girl. The evidence against Alcala, an amateur photographer, included a trove of photographs of women and girls found in a storage locker in Seattle.
Alcala has been in custody in California since 1979, but he was not convicted in the Orange County murders until 2010 because of overturned convictions and other delays.
Based on the Orange County case, Marin County investigators declared Alcala to be the prime suspect in the 1977 murder of Pamela Jean Lambson. Authorities said Lambson, a 19-year-old San Jose woman who aspired to be a model or actress, was strangled and dumped on Mount Tamalpais after being lured to her death by a man claiming to be a professional photographer.
Marin authorities said they do not plan to prosecute Alcala for Lambson's death because the DNA evidence has become too degraded since 1977.
In the New York cases, the victims were Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover, both 23-year-old Manhattan residents. Crilley was found raped and strangled at her apartment in 1971, while Hover was found murdered in Westchester County in 1977, according to the Manhattan district attorney's office.
Alcala is also known for appearing on television as "Bachelor No. 1" on a 1978 episode of "The Dating Game." The female contestant chose Alcala over the other 2 bachelors, but reportedly decided against going on a date with him.
(source: Mercury News)