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Former Marine indicted in slayings of five women in Southern California

December 14, 2009 |  1:30 pm

A convicted murderer in Illinois has been indicted by an Orange County grand jury in connection with the slayings of five Southern California women in the 1980s and '90s, prosecutors said today.

Andrew Urdiales, 45, is on death row in Illinois, where he was convicted of killing two women in 2002 and a third in 2004. He is accused of several murders in Orange, San Diego and Riverside counties between 1986 and 1995.

Urdiales, a former Marine, was stationed at Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms between 1984 and 1991. He is accused, prosecutors said, of killing one woman in Orange County, two in Riverside County and one in San Diego County during those years. After he was discharged, he returned to his home state of Illinois. He is accused of killing a fifth woman while on vacation in Palm Springs in 1995.

The first of the cases in the most recent indictment occurred on Jan. 18, 1986. Robbin Brandley, 23, was volunteering as an usher at a jazz concert at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo when she was attacked as she left the event. She was stabbed 41 times in the back, neck, chest and hands with a hunting knife.

The other victims were Julie McGhee, 29, who was shot in the head in Cathedral City on July 17, 1988; Maryann Wells, 31, who was shot to death in a deserted industrial complex in San Diego County on Sept. 25, 1988; Tammie Erwin, 20, who was shot three times in a remote area in Palm Springs on April 16, 1989; and Denise Maney, 32, who was stabbed to death in the Palm Springs desert on March 11, 1995.

Prosecutors expect Urdiales to be transported to California to face the charges after the evidentiary portion of his death penalty appeal in Illinois.

The Orange County district attorney’s office is prosecuting the case.

-- Paloma Esquivel in Orange County

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