Closing arguments begin in trial of alleged SoCal serial killer

Closing arguments began in the trial of convicted killer Andrew Urdiales.

Now 53, the former Marine had already been convicted of killing three women in Illinois before being charged with the murders of five women in Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.

His alleged killing spree began Jan. 18, 1986 in Mission Viejo.

"On that day, he left Camp Pendleton with, in his words, a big 'ol hunting knife," senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy told jurors in a Santa Ana courtroom.

Prosecutors say he found Robbin Brandley, a 23-year-old college student walking to her car at Saddleback College. She had been working earlier that night as an usher at a campus event.

During opening statements, jurors heard a taped confession of Urdiales as he described meeting Brandley.

"I put my hand over her mouth, I told her I wanted her purse. She gave it to me, she even said something like I'm sorry. I took the purse. I dropped it. I stabbed her and stabbed her and stabbed her and stabbed her," Urdiales is heard saying on the audio recording.

Prosecutors say he stabbed Brandley 41 times.

While stationed at Twentynine Palms, Urdiales is accused of shooting and killing four other women.

Mary Ann Wells, 31, was found dead in San Diego. Julie McGhee, 29, was killed in Cathedral City. Tammie Erwin, 18, was murdered in Palm Springs. And, in 1995, Denise Maney, 32, was found in the desert outside Cathedral City with her hands tied behind her back.

The cases went cold until a break in 1996 while police in Chicago were investigating the murders of three women. A man, later identified as Urdiales, was pulled over in Indiana. In his car, he had a revolver that matched bullets found in the bodies of the three Illinois women.

Urdiales then told Chicago investigators they might want to ask him about people in California, prosecutors said during opening statements.

In 1997, he was charged with the California murders and was transferred here in 2011.

During the trial, the defense said Urdiales had a difficult upbringing and was born with brain damage due to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Prosecutors dispute that and say a doctor examined Urdiales' brain and found nothing wrong.

The defense is expected to give its closing arguments on Tuesday.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.