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Many people who came into contact with him described him as very charming.Along with his purported 170 IQ, he used the same sly charm to seduce women into his car, and then to slither out of his punishments, convincing judges of his rehabilitation and probation officers of his trustworthiness.
As prosecutors prepared to retry the case a third time, they tested Alcala’s DNA against unsolved crimes and found four matches.
Even now, more than 35 years since he went to prison, Alcala’s reign of terror still casts a dark shadow: In 2010, the Huntington Beach Police Department released a series of photographs discovered among Alcala’s belongings in his Seattle storage locker.
The collection includes 120 portraits of unknown women and men taken by Alcala — only a fraction of the photographs the police discovered, as most were deemed too sexually explicit to release.
In a morbidly appropriate twist of fate, he studied film under Roman Polanski at NYU, where he discovered his passion for fashion photography.
After film school, he moved on to New Hampshire and took the creepiest job imaginable for a man with his proclivities: girls’ camp counselor.