February 10, 2010

The Jim Lange Defense

The creepy man in the picture above is 66-year-old Rodney James Alcala, currently on trial for the murders of five people back in the late 1970's.

In spite of the fact that the prosecution has plenty of evidence to make it pretty darn likely that Alcala is indeed guilty, they made the mistake of over-emphasizing one piece of evidence in one of the murders - to wit: a pair of gold earrings that police say belonged to one of Alcala's victims that was subsequently found in his possession - a "trophy" of the crime.

So, what kind of defense is Alcala mounting? He showed five seconds of video from a 1978 episode of "The Dating Game" during which, he claims, you can see as he blows the "goodbye kiss" to the audience - yes, the man must have been a charmer back in the day as he won a date - he is wearing said pair of earrings. (The show was taped a full year before this particular murder.)

"You'll have to watch closely ... you'll see a flash of gold,'' Alcala told jurors.

I think this actually has a chance of working as a defense, after all, juries have believed far more outlandish things, especially when one piece of evidence is lauded as "proof positive"and then comes into even the slightest doubt: O.J.'s gloves, anyone?

Perhaps the prosecution could counter with the following clip, in an attempt to show that sometimes what we see on TV isn't necessarily the whole truth and nothing but the truth... after all, Andy Kaufman was a genius - and not the simpleton this clip might cause you to believe.


  1. 5 seconds of video? Why doesn't the prosecution get a copy of the whole thing? If he was wearing earrings he will be asked a question By the bachlorette and the camera will be full frontal instead of 5 seconds from the side. Then you would see whether he was wearing earrings. And just because he was wearing earrings (if he actually was) that doesn't mean they are the same ones.

  2. Tammy -
    My guess is his hair was just as long back then and the earrings only appear when he throws his head around at the end of the show. And of course, it doesn't prove they were the same earrings, but I never underestimate the potential stupidity of a jury.