SANTA ANA – A jury on Tuesday recommended the death penalty for an eight-time serial killer on trial for murdering five women in Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.
An Orange County Superior Court judge will make the final decision as to whether Urdiales will be sent to Death Row. The sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 31.
The jury recommended the death penalty for all five murders.
That Santa Ana jury, which last month found Andrew Urdiales guilty of five special-circumstances murders, deliberated for several hours before backing the death penalty rather than a life sentence.
Urdiales, shortly after his arrest, confessed to killing one woman in Orange County while stationed as a U.S. Marine at Camp Pendleton; four women in Riverside and San Diego counties while stationed at Twentynine Palms; and three women in Chicago while working as a security guard after leaving the military.
During closing arguments in Urdiales’ Orange County trial, Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy described him as a “misogynistic, sadistic monster.”
Attorney Denise Gragg, who represented Urdiales, countered that her client was born with brain damage and suffered a childhood marked by emotional, physical, sexual and psychological abuse.
Last month, the Santa Ana jury found Urdiales, now 53, guilty of killing Robbin Brandley in 1986 in a Saddleback College parking lot in Mission Viejo, and of the murders over the subsequent seven years of Julie McGhee, Tammie Erwin and Denise Many in Riverside County, and Mary Ann Wells in San Diego.
A Chicago jury previously convicted Urdiales of killing Laura Uylaki, Cassandra Corum and Lynn Huberand.
A ninth woman, Jennifer Asbenson, said she escaped from Urdiales after being kidnapped and sexually assaulted in a remote Riverside County desert.
While the Southern California News Group does not normally identify victims of sexual assault, Asbenson has spoken extensively about her experience in public forums.