Serial Killer Rodney Alcala's Crimes Were So Sick Even the Judge Cried During Sentencing

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Rodney Alcala sentencingSerial killer Rodney Alcala was once a contestant on The Dating Game, just one more terrifying detail in this sick man's life of horrific crime. Last month, Alcala pleaded guilty to the murders of two New York City women, and Justice Bonnie G. Wittner -- a person who has seen her share of horrific crime -- was moved to sobbing during his sentencing. 

It's no wonder. Alcala's crimes include the rape and murder of young flight attendant Cornelia Crilley and the 1977 murder of Ellen Hover. Crilley was raped and strangled in her new apartment on the Upper East Side. Hover, a painter and pianist, disappeared and her body was found one year later. 

Alcala destroyed the lives of both these women and their families. Having already been sentenced to death in California for five other murders, the murders in New York City were just another 25 years to life. But for the victims' families, the sentencing was important to see.

Kaitie Stigell, Crilley's sister, thanked the judge and said to Alcala: "I want you to know you broke my parents' heart."

Even Judge Whittner was not immune. "This kind of case is something I've never experienced -- hope to never again," she said, crying. After she read the sentence, she put her head in her hand and sobbed.

It's hard to imagine crimes so vicious they make a hardened judge cry. But then it's hard to imagine that we live in a world where a woman who has just moved to a new apartment and is proud of her newfound independence can't feel safe from rape and murder. It's hard to imagine this woman's poor parents having to live decades after losing their beloved daughter.

It's horrifying and tragic, and even though he already had a death sentence in California, it's important -- vital, even -- that he own up to every single one of the murders he committed. Every single one of those victims mattered and counts. Their families made that clear.

It's impossible to know what makes someone like Alcala tick and frightening that the now long scraggly-haired old man was once a contestant on The Dating Game, maybe even seeking new victims.

There will always be people like him in our world, which is just a scary truth. But at least this one won't be able to harm any more women or children.

Are you surprised the judge cried at sentencing?


Image via U.S. Naval War College/Flickr

crime, sex crime


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nonmember avatar Cass

And what happens when his attorney calls for a retrial, saying the judge was too emotionally invested in the case? I'm sorry it upset her, but it is her job to be AND appear impartial.

Doomy234 Doomy234

I am surprised... Mostly because it is not like what he did was completely unheard of, and secondly because no matter how horrific a crime is a judge needs to remain calm, collected and impartial.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Yea I am surprised. She is a judge. If this rocks her boat she is screwed. She will see things worse, children worse. Murder is horrible no matter what age.

nonmember avatar Lexi jordan

I dont think it will matter that she cried. He plead Guilty. Plus he is never getting out of jail anyways in California to serve in NY.


I'm wondering if he got life in New York if that cancels the death sentence in Ca.?

dirti... dirtiekittie

so let's see - that's a total of 7 murders he committed and has been found guilty of doing such. my only remorse in this is that he did it in CA and NY instead of TX, because at least there they would have executed him. 

$185.00 a day on taxpayers' dime for the rest of his life for those crimes... and he'll get cable tv, three meals a day, and if he behaves, they may even let him play outside or get tv directly in his cell. oh, the horror!! /end sarcasm

this is why the death penalty should be around. not for the 'maybe he did it' cases, or the circumstantial evidence ones, but cases like this. i hope the families are able to heal and move forward from this. 

Doomy234 Doomy234

Dirtiekittie, I couldnt agree more.

nonmember avatar eldigato

Dude what's scary is that I look exactly like alcala did in the 70s haha

nonmember avatar NoWay

I thought he did have the death penaly in CA ...

nonmember avatar alicia

California does have the death penalty and when you LR on death row you DO NOT get cable you get ONE HOT MEAL a day and yes you can have a TV in your cell but if you don't have a family that will get you a good antenna its not going to I think they need to put people to death faster and more often yes but do some research on exactly how the PRIVATELY owned prison system of the united states works its not all that people think it is

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