Serial Killer Rodney Alcala to Face Murder Charges in New York

By Irene Plagianos on June 20, 2012 12:29pm 

FILE - This Jan. 11, 2010 file photo shows Rodney Alcala, a former death row inmate who was twice convicted of the 1979 killing of a 12-year-old Huntington Beach girl, sitting in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif. Alcala will be formally sentenced Tuesday, March 30, 2010 three weeks after a jury recommended the death penalty for the 1970s strangling and beating deaths of four women and a 12-year-old girl. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
FILE - This Jan. 11, 2010 file photo shows Rodney Alcala, a former death row inmate who was twice convicted of the 1979 killing of a 12-year-old Huntington Beach girl, sitting in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif. Alcala will be formally sentenced Tuesday, March 30, 2010 three weeks after a jury recommended the death penalty for the 1970s strangling and beating deaths of four women and a 12-year-old girl. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
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Nick Ut

MANHATTAN — Convicted serial killer and one-time "Dating Game" contestant Rodney Alcala, who is on death row in California, was headed to New York Wednesday to face charges that he brutally murdered two Manhattan women in the 1970s, the Manhattan District Attorney's office said.

Alcala, 67, was on a plane with U.S. marshals and expected to land in New York in the afternoon, the DA's office said. He could be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court as early as Wednesday for allegedly raping and strangling Cornelia Crilley, an Upper East Side flight attendant in 1971 and killing Ellen Hover, who disappeared in 1977.

In January, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. indicted Alcala — currently on death row in California for murdering four women and a 12-year-old girl — for the Manhattan women's murders.

The indictment came almost two years after the NYPD released roughly 200 images of women and children photographed by Alcala in the Greenwich Village area in the 1970s.

Crilley was a flight attendant from Queens living with two roommates, fellow stewardesses, in a Yorkville apartment. She was strangled with a stocking and found with "clothing stuffed into her mouth" at her 427 E. 83rd St. apartment, according to the New York Times.

Hover was the daughter of club owner Herman Hover, who was photographed with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable at the legendary Los Angeles club he ran, Ciro's.

Alcala had appeared as a handsome young contestant on "The Dating Game" around the time he reportedly lured his victims to their death by inviting them to be his subjects in racy photo shoots.

Despite a growing body of clues over three decades and the suspicions of many that Alcala murdered two promising young women, authorities did not have the evidence to prosecute the New York cases until recently.

The case became a priority for the DA's cold case unit, which took on a re-examination of these two homicides last year.

"We simply, as a matter of policy, as a matter of doing our job do not turn our back on a murder case," Vance said in January.

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