Former Camp Pendleton Marine indicted in serial murders of five California women
SANTA ANA, California – A convicted triple murderer incarcerated in an Illinois prison has been indicted by a grand jury for murdering five Southern California women between 1986 and 1995 in Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties.
Andrew Urdiales, 45, is charged with five felony counts of special circumstances murder for committing multiple murders and the personal use of a firearm in three murders. In one case he stabbed a woman 41 times.
Urdiales has prior Illinois convictions for murdering two women in 2002 and another in 2004. The special circumstance allegations in this case make Urdiales eligible for the death penalty.
Urdiales is currently appealing a death sentence in Illinois. He is expected to be extradited to Orange County pending completion of that appeal.
In August 2009, the OCDA released a press release with the following information:
Background on Urdiales:
Beginning in April 1984, Urdiales, then-19 years old, was a U.S. Marine stationed at various facilities in Southern California until his discharge in April 1991.
During that time, Urdiales is accused of murdering four women, including one in Orange County, two in Riverside County, and one in San Diego County. After his discharge in 1991, Urdiales moved back to his home state of Illinois. In 1995, he is accused of murdering a fifth woman, his third victim in Riverside County, while on vacation in Palm Springs.
Murder of Robbin Brandley, Orange County:
On the evening of Jan. 18, 1986, 23-year-old Robbin Brandley was volunteering as an usher at a Saddleback College jazz pianist concert. That evening, Urdiales is accused of driving to the college from Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton armed with a six-inch blade hunting knife with the intention of murdering a random victim.
After the concert, Brandley left the reception in the Fine Arts complex and began walking to her car. Urdiales is accused of seeing the victim coming from the building and approaching her from behind in a dimly lit parking lot. He is accused of murdering the victim by stabbing her 41 times in the back, neck, chest, and hands, and then fleeing the scene.
Murder of Julie McGhee, Riverside County:
On July 17, 1988, Urdiales is accused of picking up a 29-year-old prostitute named Julie McGhee in the Indian Wells area. He is accused of driving the victim to a remote, developing area in Cathedral City, having sexual intercourse with her, and then murdering her by shooting McGhee one time in the head. He is accused of leaving her body in the desert, stealing her personal identifying information, and fleeing the scene.
Murder of Maryann Wells, San Diego County:
On Sept. 25, 1988, Urdiales is accused of picking up a 31-year-old prostitute named Maryann Wells in San Diego. He is accused of paying Wells $40, driving the victim to an alley in a deserted industrial complex, and having sexual intercourse with her. He is accused of then murdering Wells by shooting her one time in the head and taking back the $40 he had paid her. He is accused of leaving a used condom at the scene containing DNA from both him and the victim.
Murder of Tammie Erwin, Riverside County:
On April 16, 1989, Urdiales is accused of picking up a 20-year-old prostitute named Tammie Erwin. He is accused of driving the victim to a remote area in Palm Springs, having sexual intercourse with her, and then murdering Erwin by shooting her three times.
Urdiales is accused of using the same firearm to murder McGhee, Wells, and Erwin. After murdering Erwin, he is accused of dismantling the firearm and separately disposing of the parts.
Murder of Denise Maney, Riverside County:
On March 11, 1995, four years after being discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, Urdiales is accused of picking up a 32-year-old prostitute named Denise Maney while on vacation from Illinois in the Palm Springs area. The defendant is accused of driving Maney to a remote desert area in Palm Springs, forcing her to disrobe, tying her hands behind her back, and sexually assaulting the victim. He is accused of then stabbing Maney to death.
Murder of Laura Uylaki, Cook County, IL:
In April 1996, Urdiales drove prostitute Laura Uylaki to Wolf Lake to have sexual intercourse with her. The defendant then shot Uylaki two times in the head, threw her naked body into the lake, and fled the scene. To keep her from being easily identified, the defendant took the victim’s personal identifying information.
Murder of Cassandra Corum, Livingston County, IL:
In July 1996, Urdiales handcuffed prostitute Cassandra Corum and bound her ankles with duct tape. He taped the victim’s mouth shut and cut off her clothes. Urdiales then drove Corum to the Vermillion River, forced her out of his truck, and murdered the victim by repeatedly shooting and stabbing her. Urdiales dumped the victim’s naked body in the river and fled the scene. To keep her from being easily identified, the defendant took the victim’s personal identifying information.
Murder of Lynn Huber, Cook County, IL:
In August 1996, Urdiales murdered prostitute Lynn Huber by shooting her three times and stabbing her 28 times. The defendant dumped the victim’s nude body in Wolf Lake, where she was later discovered only yards from where Uylaki’s body had been discovered. To keep her from being easily identified, the defendant took the victim’s personal identifying information. He then put her clothes and personal items in a charity collection bin.
In November 1996, Urdiales was arrested in Hammond, IN, after police officers observed him in his truck loitering in an area known for prostitution.
In a subsequent search of the defendant’s vehicle, officers found a firearm, which Urdiales was not permitted to carry. Urdiales was charged with and convicted of a misdemeanor for the unauthorized possession of a handgun.
In April 1997, Illinois officers conducted ballistics testing of the firearm found in Urdiales’ vehicle in Indiana, which showed that it was the same firearm used to shoot and murder Uylaki, Corum, and Huber. Urdiales, who was no longer in custody for the firearm conviction, was arrested for the three murders.
As a result of the 1997 arrest, Urdiales was linked to the five Southern California murders. In June 1997, the OCDA charged Urdiales with the murder of Brandley and has been waiting to extradite him pending completion of his legal process in Illinois.
In 2002, Urdiales was convicted of the first degree murders of Uylaki and Huber in Cook County, IL, and was sentenced to receive the death penalty. That sentence was later commuted to a sentence of life without the possibility of a parole by then-Illinois Governor George Ryan.
In 2004, Urdiales was convicted of the first degree murder of Corum in Livingston County, IL, and was sentenced to receive the death penalty in that case. The defendant is currently on death row in Illinois, where he is appealing his death sentence. Upon conclusion of his evidentiary portion of his state appeal in Illinois, Urdiales will be extradited to California to face charges for murdering Brandley, McGhee, Wells, Erwin, and Maney.
In July 2009, the District Attorneys from Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties agreed to consolidate prosecution of the five Southern California murders. The prosecution will be conducted by the OCDA. The law allows for multiple murders that are connected in their commission but occur in different Counties to be prosecuted together to achieve judicial economy and relieve hardship for the victims and their families.
Copyright 2009, Vancouverite News Service. Use this article on your blog or website for just $5. News organizations pay $25. To reproduce or distribute, click: http://vancouverite.icopyright.com