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October 9, 2011

CONVICTED ILLINOIS SERIAL MURDERER EXTRADITED FOR MURDERING FIVE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WOMEN BETWEEN 1986 AND 1995

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 5:23 pm

*The OCDA is prosecuting a consolidated case involving Orange, Riverside, and San Diego County victims

SANTA ANA - A convicted Illinois triple murderer is being extradited to California for murdering five Southern California women between 1986 and 1995 in Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties. Andrew Urdiales, 47, is charged with five felony counts of special circumstances murder for committing multiple murders and the personal use of a firearm in three murders. The defendant 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 being held without bail an arraignment date is to be determined.

The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) will prosecute a consolidated case on behalf of the Orange, Riverside, and San Diego County victims.

Before the death penalty is pursued by the OCDA, a special circumstances committee will meet and confer. The committee consists of the District Attorney, the Senior Assistant and Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Homicide Unit, and other prosecutors experienced in capital cases. The committee will discuss the defendant’s record, the nature of the crime, and the vulnerability of the victim, among other factors.  The committee will also consider mitigating circumstances from the defense attorney.  The final decision to pursue the death penalty rests on the District Attorney.

Extradition
Urdiales was extradited from the Department of Correction in Pontiac, IL, yesterday, Oct. 3, 2011, by the U.S. Marshals Service. He is being transported to the custody of the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department and is expected to arrive Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. He will then be transported to the Orange County Jail.

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. He is accused of murdering a fifth woman, his third victim in Riverside County, while on vacation in Palm Springs in 1995.

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.

Circumstances of Arrest
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.

Illinois Murder Convictions
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.

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.

In 2011, the law in Illinois was changed to ban the death penalty and all inmates on death row had their sentence commuted by law to life without the possibility of a parole.  Subsequently, Urdiales’ sentence for the murder of Corum was commuted.

1 Comment »

  1. It is tough to get justice for the victims when the criminal is already in prison for life without parole. It reminds me of those cases where people end up with hundreds of years worth of jail time, more symbolic than anything. Although I’ve heard Canon City in Colorado isn’t a very nice place to serve life.

    Comment by riverside dui lawyer — July 24, 2012 @ 11:18 am

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