Calif. killer to face NY charges
A convicted California serial killer was headed to New York on Wednesday to face charges of killing two women in the 1970s
By Jennifer Peltz
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — A convicted California serial killer was headed to New York on Wednesday to face charges of killing two women in the 1970s, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.
Rodney Alcala was on a plane with U.S. marshals and was due to land in New York on Wednesday afternoon, the DA's office told The Associated Press.
He could be arraigned later in the day on the Manhattan charges, which stem from a flight attendant's strangling death in 1971 and the death of a former Hollywood nightclub owner's daughter whose body was found in 1978 after she disappeared the year before.
It was unclear who would represent Alcala in New York, or if he would have a lawyer.
The former amateur photographer and dating-show contestant represented himself at the sometimes bizarre 2010 California trial that ended with his convictions in the strangulations of four women and a 12-year-old girl in Southern California in the 1970s. Sentenced to death, he is appealing.
While Alcala had long been suspected in at least one of the Manhattan cases, he was indicted only last year, after the DA's cold-case unit re-examined the cases, looked at evidence that emerged during the California trial and conducted new interviews with more than 100 witnesses.
"These cases were built one brick at a time, as each new lead brought us closer to where we are today," DA Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said at the time, adding that he hoped the indictment "brings a small measure of peace to the families and friends who have spent decades searching for answers, and justice."
One of the women, Cornelia Crilley, a flight attendant for Trans World Airlines, was found strangled in her Manhattan apartment in 1971. The other, Ellen Hover, also was living in Manhattan when she vanished in 1977. Her remains were found the next year in the woods on a suburban estate.
Hover had a degree in biology and was seeking a job as a researcher, a private investigator for her family said at the time. Her father, comedy writer Herman Hover, had been an owner of the one-time Hollywood hotspot Ciro's.
Alcala, now 68, has been behind bars since his 1979 arrest in California. Prosecutors said his killings were accompanied by sexual abuse and torture.
His conviction last year came after a series of trials, overturned convictions and strange courtroom moments. Acting as his own lawyer, he offered a rambling defense that included questioning the mother of one of his victims, playing Arlo Guthrie's 1967 song "Alice's Restaurant" and showing a TV clip of himself on a 1978 episode of "The Dating Game."
Alcala fought his extradition to New York, saying he needed to stay in California to attend court hearings and do other preparatory work on his appeal. The California Supreme Court rejected his argument last month.