A convicted triple murderer was charged Wednesday with the killings of five Southern California women in cases dating back to the mid-1980s.
Orange County prosecutors accused Andrew Urdiales, 45, of murders in Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. He was convicted in Illinois in 2002 of killing two women and in 2004 for a third murder.
He is appealing a death sentence in Illinois and will be extradited to California after the appeals process is complete.
Urdiales was a U.S. Marine stationed in Southern California between April 1984 and April 1991. Authorities say he murdered one woman in Orange County, two women in Riverside County and one woman in San Diego County during that time period. They allege he killed the fifth woman while vacationing in Palm Springs in 1995.
Urdiales moved to Illinois after his discharge and police arrested him in 1996 in Hammond, Ind., after they spotted him loitering in an area known for prostitution. A search of his truck turned up an unlicensed firearm.
Victim stabbed 41 times
Ballistics tests on the gun found it was the same weapon used to shoot and kill three women who were murdered in Illinois in 1996 and 1997. Detectives say they then were able to link Urdiales to the Southern California murders, including one where police recovered DNA from a condom left at the crime scene.
In Southern California, Urdiales will be tried in the murders of 23-year-old Robbin Brandley, who was stabbed 41 times while leaving a jazz piano concert in 1986; 29-year-old Julie McGhee, 31-year-old Maryann Wells, and 20-year-old Tammie Erwin, all of whom were shot; and Denise Maney, 32, who was tied up, sexually assaulted and stabbed to death.
Authorities have not decided whether they will pursue the death penalty in the California cases, all of which will be consolidated and handled by Orange County prosecutors.