A California serial killer who left a trail of brutalized women's bodies in his wake was sentenced today in New York to an additional 25 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to murdering two young women here in the 1970s. Emotions in the courtroom were running high in the case of Rodney Alcala, and not even the judge was immune. "This kind of case is something I've never experienced—hope to never again," Judge Bonnie Whittner said, choking back tears as she sentenced Alcala. When she finished pronouncing the sentence, she put her head in her hand.
Family and friends of Cornelia Crilley and Ellen Hover filled the courtroom in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, having waited decades since the losses of their loved ones for this day. Crilley, 23, was found strangled with a stocking in her Manhattan apartment in 1971. Hover, also 23, was living in Manhattan before her remains were found in the woods on a suburban estate. Alcala was indicted in 2011 in the killings of Crilley and Hover in New York, partly on evidence that emerged during a California murder trial where he was sentenced to death on five other killings. He represented himself at trial, offering a defense that involved showing a clip of his 1978 appearance on "The Dating Game." See more here. (Read more murder trial stories.)