OC Prosecutor: Accused Serial Killer Enjoyed Preying on Women

SANTA ANA (CNS) - A convicted triple killer from Chicago murdered five women in the Southland because he's a misogynist who enjoys preying on women, an Orange County prosecutor told jurors today during closing arguments of the man's trial.

``His fundamental problem, the reason we're all here ... is he hated women, he believes they are whores and he likes killing them,'' Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy said, arguing that 53-year-old Andrew Urdiales is guilty of five killings, beginning in 1986 at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.

Downplaying defense experts who portrayed the defendant's childhood as a nightmarish ordeal at the hands of alcoholic parents, the prosecutor argued that it was unnecessary to prove a motive for the killings.

``Who knows what makes these guys do this?'' Murphy said. ``I don't have to prove it. You don't have to figure it out.''

Urdiales' attorneys are expected to give their closing argument Tuesday.

Murphy said Urdiales' killing spree began with the ambush of 23-year- old Robbin Brandley as she walked to her car following a concert at which she worked as an usher at Saddleback on Jan. 18, 1986.

``This woman was totally innocent,'' Murphy said.

Urdiales stopped at the college that night because he would often see the Saddleback College sign as he would drive on the adjacent freeway, and he thought it would be a good place to find a victim, Murphy said. He parked at the bottom of a hill, then walked up the hill carrying a knife, Murphy said.

``He's a trained Marine. He needs a way to get away,'' Murphy said. ``That's thinking, that's planning.''

Before killing Brandley he was ``cruising sororities at UCLA'' and following women joggers in Riverside, Murphy said.

Urdiales, who was a U.S. Marine at Camp Pendleton at the time, told detectives after his arrest in Chicago in 1997 that he left the base with a ``big, old hunting knife,'' Murphy said.

``The defendant did not fish, did not camp, was not a survivalist and his name is not John Rambo,'' Murphy said.

Countering a defense argument that Urdiales was brain damaged from fetal alcohol syndrome and a difficult childhood and could only be convicted of second-degree murder, the prosecutor cited Uridales' own words in his confession.

``She screamed briefly before I put my hands over her mouth,'' the defendant told police.

He told detectives he was not interested in Brandley's purse.

``I think it was her that we wanted,'' Urdiales said.

The murder charge against Uridales includes the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, opening him to a possible death sentence. If Uridales is convicted of murder, the trial will move to a penalty phase for jurors to recommend the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Urdiales described a frenzied stabbing of Brandley that at one point left the knife stuck in her body, according to Murphy.

``I actually had to put my foot on her to get it out,'' Urdiales told investigators.

Urdiales ``smeared'' grease from his car's engine over the victim's blood on his clothes so he would have an alibi that he cut himself working on his vehicle when he returned to Camp Pendleton, Murphy said.

``Sound like somebody who didn't know what he did was wrong?'' Murphy asked.

In addition to Brandley, Urdiales is accused of killing:

-- 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 prosecutors.

The defendant also had a ``remarkable memory'' for details of his victims' clothing, particularly their footwear, Murphy said.

He would pick the women up and drive them to remote areas, where he killed them, Murphy said. Maney's two front teeth were knocked out, probably from the impact of a .45-caliber revolver shoved into her mouth as it was fired by the defendant, Murphy said.

Defense attorneys contended at the trial's onset that evidence would show Urdiales suffered from dissociation, but the prosecutor said no one diagnosed the defendant with that condition, and one of the defense's own experts said Urdiales did not show any signs of the disorder.

Pushing for a second-degree murder conviction, Urdiales' defense attorneys said at the start of trial that the defendant had uncanny memory of the killings but zoned out when it came to the actual crimes.

Murphy also disputed the defense characterization of Urdiales' parents as neglectful and abusive. Some of the defendant's siblings testified that their father was a good dad who frequently took them on vacations to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm.

``Is that Godzilla there?'' Murphy said. ``He never laid a hand on his son.''

Murphy also attacked defense experts, saying they often contradicted themselves and failed to show that Urdiales suffered any of the typical diagnoses for someone afflicted with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Murphy also disputed defense claims that Urdiales suffered repeated beatings at the hands of classmates, and he noted that defense expert agreed that the defendant is ``quite capable of controlling his anger ... when it suits him.''

Urdiales is already serving life in prison for murdering three prostitutes in Illinois.

Photo: Getty Images

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