Alcala committed his first known crime in 1968: A motorist in Los Angeles witnessed him luring an eight-year-old girl named Tali Shapiro into his Hollywood apartment and called police.
The girl was found in the apartment raped and beaten with a steel bar, but Alcala escaped.
Unable to convict him of rape and attempted murder without their primary witness, prosecutors were forced to permit Alcala to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
He was paroled after 34 months, in 1974, under the "indeterminate sentencing" program popular at the time, which allowed parole boards to release offenders as soon as they demonstrated evidence of "rehabilitation." Less than two months later, Alcala was arrested for violating parole and providing marijuana to a 13-year old girl who claimed she had been kidnapped.
Police subsequently found her earrings in a Seattle locker rented by Alcala.
Host Jim Lange introduced him as "...a successful photographer who got his start when his father found him in the darkroom at the age of 13, fully developed.
We have many plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really need your help for this. (born August 23, 1943) is a convicted rapist and serial killer who was sentenced to death in California in 2010 for five murders committed between 19, and is thought to be responsible for others.
He is sometimes labeled the "Dating Game Killer" due to his 1978 appearance on the American television show The Dating Game in the very midst of his murder spree.
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.