Serial killer, who murdered 3 in the Coachella Valley, found dead in his cell

A death row inmate convicted of killing five women, including three in the Coachella Valley, was found dead in his cell in San Quentin.

Andrew Urdiales, 54, was convicted on May 23 in Orange County. The jury recommended in June that he be put to death.

Urdiales, a former Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, killed five women in Mission Viejo, San Diego, Cathedral City, and two in Palm Springs between 1986 and 1995. He had been sentenced to death in Chicago for murdering three women there, but was given life without parole when the death penalty was abolished in Illinois.

He was brought to Orange County in 2011 to be tried for the five murders in the Southland.

The five woman in California Urdiales was convicted of killing:

— 23-year-old Robbin Brandley, who was attacked as she walked to her car following a concert on Jan. 18, 1986, at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo;

— 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.

Urdiales was found unresponsive during a security check of his cell late Friday night, according to 10 News. Correctional officers performed CPR but he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

He was kept in a cell by himself officials say it appears he killed himself, according to ABC 7.

In 1997, The LA Times wrote an article about Urdiales, entitled “The Details, as Much as His Victims, Were the Trophies.” In the article, Lieutenant Ray Griffith says of him, “He was very methodical, very calm. I can’t remember what I wore last Friday–I can’t remember the details of my mother’s death–but this guy remembered everything. He sounded like a novelist.”

When Griffith was asked about Urdiales’ confession to killing  Julie McGhee in Cathedral City, he said, “If he didn’t do it. He at least had to be there. He knew how she was dressed, down to the brand of her shoes. He knew where and how he shot her, the ammunition he used, how much he used, the tattoos she wore.”


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