Lady Justice sculpture. Photo via Pixabay
Lady Justice sculpture. Photo via Pixabay

A 53-year-old former Marine convicted of killing three prostitutes in Illinois Wednesday will face a jury that will consider evidence he killed five women in Orange, San Diego and Riverside counties between 1986 and 1995.

Andrew Urdiales faces the death penalty if he is convicted. Urdiales had previously been on Illinois’ death row, but capital punishment was banned there and he was since extradited to California to again face the prospect of capital punishment.

On Tuesday, Urdiales’ attorneys unsuccessfully argued that the defendant’s alleged confession to the killings was done illegally.

Retired Chicago detective Raymond Krakausky testified how Urdiales volunteered his culpability in the murders in Illinois and California.

Under questioning from defense attorney Ken Morrison, Krakausky testified that his partner didn’t even have to pressure Urdiales to tell them about the killings.

“I don’t believe he was asked. He just provided it,” Krakausky said. “He was the one leading this whole thing… He had mentioned we should possibly contact California authorities because they might be interested in what he was doing out there.”

The retired detective added, “He had been advised of his rights and understood them. He looked to me he wanted to clear his conscience.”

Urdiales was caught in November 1996 in Hammond, Indiana, when police saw him in his truck, parked in an area known for prostitution. A gun he wasn’t allowed to have was found in the vehicle and he was convicted of a misdemeanor, said Assistant District Attorney Howard Gundy, who was the original prosecutor on the case.

Urdiales, who was a security guard at the time, did not arouse any suspicion until Chicago detectives sought to check the gun for ballistics tests, because they suspected he was killing prostitutes, Gundy said. A prostitute had told Chicago police that he was a “weird customer” who asked to tie her up, which she declined, Gundy said.

The gun linked him to the murders in Illinois, Gundy said.

Prosecutors contend that Urdiales committed four of the murders while serving as a U.S. Marine at various facilities in Southern California.

Urdiales was discharged in 1991 and he moved back to his home state of Illinois. The fifth murder, which happened in Palm Springs, allegedly was committed by Urdiales while he was on vacation, prosecutors said.

In 1996, Urdiales killed three prostitutes in Illinois. He was convicted of all three killings and sentenced to death, but the state later overturned the law and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In Southern California, Urdiales is accused of killing:

— 23-year-old Robbin Brandley on Jan. 18, 1986, in Mission Viejo;

— 29-year-old Julie McGhee on July 17, 1988, in Cathedral City;

— 31-year-old Maryann Wells on Sept. 25, 1988, in San Diego;

— 20-year-old Tammie Erwin on April 16, 1989, in Palm Springs; and

— 32-year-old Denise Maney on March 11, 1995, in Palm Springs.

McGhee, Wells, Erwin and Maney were all prostitutes, according to Gundy.

Urdiales allegedly picked up McGhee in Indian Wells then drove her to a remote area of Cathedral City, had sex with her then and shot her in the head.

Urdiales allegedly paid Wells $40, then drove her to a deserted San Diego industrial complex where he had sex with her, shot her in the head and took back the $40 he had paid her. Prosecutors contend he left a condom at the scene, and DNA evidence was recovered.

Urdiales picked up Erwin, drove her to a remote area of Palm Springs, had sex with her then shot her three times, Gundy alleged.

Prosecutors claim he used the same gun to kill McGhee, Wells and Erwin, then dismantled the weapon and disposed of the parts.

While vacationing in Palm Springs in 1995, he allegedly picked up Maney, drove her to a remote area, tied her hands behind her back, had sex with her and stabbed her to death.

—City News Service

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