Early life Alcala was born Rodrigo Jacques Alcala-Buquor in San Antonio, Texas to Raoul Alcala Buquor and Anna Maria Gutierrez.
He and his sisters were raised by his mother in suburban Los Angeles. He joined the United States Army in 1960, where he served as a clerk.
Once again, he was paroled after serving two years of an "indeterminate sentence." In 1977, despite his criminal record and official registration as a sex offender, he was hired as a typesetter by the Los Angeles Times in the midst of their coverage of the Hillside Strangler murders.
He fled to the east coast and enrolled in the NYU film school using the name "John Berger." During the summer months he also obtained a counseling job at a New Hampshire arts camp for children, using a slightly different alias, "John Burger." In 1971, after two campers noticed Alcala's FBI wanted poster at the post office and notified camp directors, he was arrested and extradited back to California.
By then, however, Tali Shapiro's parents had relocated her family to Mexico, and refused to allow her to testify at Alcala's trial.
Samsoe murder and trials Robin Samsoe, a 12-year-old girl from Huntington Beach, California disappeared somewhere between the beach and her ballet class on June 20, 1979.
Her decomposing body was found 12 days later in the foothills of Los Angeles.
Each one-hour episode presents dramatic recreations of the crimes using archival material and insightful commentary from those connected to the case to help unravel the twisted personalities that were thrust into the spotlight.
Featured commentator is author and PEOPLE crime reporter, Steve Helling, who has covered several high-profile crime stories including the Natalee Holloway and Laci Peterson disappearances.
Alcala is also notable for exceptional demonstrations of cruelty: Prosecutors say he "toyed" with his victims, strangling them until they lost consciousness, then waiting until they revived, sometimes repeating this process several times before finally killing them.
Investigators have found a collection of hundreds of photos of women and teenaged boys photographed by Alcala, and speculate that he could be responsible for many more murders in California.
In 1964, after what was described as a "nervous breakdown", he was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder by a military psychiatrist and discharged on medical grounds.
Education Alcala, who claims to have a "genius-level" IQ, graduated from the UCLA School of Fine Arts after his medical discharge from the Army, and later attended New York University using the alias "John Berger", where he studied film under Roman Polanski.
Additional evidence, including another cold case DNA match in 2004, led to Alcala's indictment for the murders of four additional women: Jill Barcomb, 18, killed in 1977 and originally thought to have been a victim of the Hillside Strangler; Georgia Wixted, 27, bludgeoned in her Malibu apartment in 1977; Charlotte Lamb, 31, raped and strangled in El Segundo in 1978; and Jill Parenteau, 21, killed in her Burbank apartment in 1979.