SANTA ANA, Calif. – A prosecutor asked a serial murder suspect Wednesday why he initially told police he primarily took pictures of landscapes and sunsets, when nearly all of his photographs were of people, including teen girls and young women.
Rodney Alcala, 66, was cross-examined by the prosecutor after wrapping up his defense a day earlier by showing a video of himself on "The Dating Game" that he claims proved his innocence.
After taking the stand again Wednesday, Alcala was asked about his initial interview with police in 1979, after he was arrested in the slaying of 12-year-old Robin Samsoe.
Alcala acknowledged under cross-examination that he lied when he said he didn't take pictures of women at the beach.
Witnesses have testified that Alcala photographed at least one teenage girl on the day Samsoe was killed and was seen by another witness trying to photograph Samsoe. However, pictures of Samsoe have never been found.
"It's your position, as you sit there, that you did not commit the homicide of Robin Samsoe, is that correct?" Orange County prosecutor Matt Murphy asked.
"Yes," Alcala replied.
A judge later ended the proceedings until Thursday due to a power outage at the courthouse.
Alcala, who is representing himself, could face the death penalty if convicted of killing Samsoe and four women in Southern California.
He wrapped up his defense Tuesday by playing a 1978 clip from "The Dating Game" to discredit evidence in the case.
Prosecutors have said they found a pair of gold ball earrings believed to belong to Samsoe in a Seattle storage locker rented by Alcala.
Alcala, however, said he had bought a similar pair of earrings a year before the girl was killed, and jurors could see a flash of the jewelry in his double-pierced left ear as he gave the TV show's signoff salute.
During an often bizarre day of testimony Tuesday, the defendant referred to himself as Mr. Alcala as he posed questions and then responded with long and sometimes rambling answers.
Alcala, a photographer and UCLA undergraduate with a purported IQ between 160 and 170, has been sentenced to death twice for Samsoe's slaying, but both convictions were overturned.
He was charged with killing four Los Angeles County women between 1977 and 1979 after prosecutors alleged DNA testing in 2005 linked him to those crimes. It's the first time Alcala has been tried in those cases.
He has pleaded not guilty to all counts and denied special circumstance allegations of murder in the commission of rape, torture and burglary.
Samsoe disappeared while riding her friend's bike to a ballet class in Huntington Beach. Her body was found 12 days later, but investigators were not able to determine the cause of death or if she had been sexually assaulted because of the condition of the remains.
Alcala maintains he was at an amusement park applying for a photo job when Samsoe was killed.
During the trial, he has focused almost entirely on Samsoe and told the judge he would not testify about the other allegations when he took the stand.
Alcala is also charged with killing Jill Barcomb, 18, who had just moved to Los Angeles from Oneida, N.Y.; Georgia Wixted, 27, of Malibu; Charlotte Lamb, 32, of Santa Monica; and Jill Parenteau, 21, of Burbank.