His crimes will turn your stomach.
Bound with duct tape, stabbed and shot dead.
Such was the grisly fate of a woman found dumped in Wolf Lake, along the Illinois-Indiana border, in April 1996.
Later identified as 25-year-old prostitute Lori Uylaki, the crime shocked the Chicago community. There were no clues, no weapon…the police had nothing to go on.
Then, four months later, another prostitute Lynn Huber, 22, was discovered dead at the same lake, with starkly similar injuries.
As a gruesome pattern emerged, it was clear a dangerous killer was at large…
In November 1996, a police officer pulled over Andrew Urdiales, then 32, for a routine traffic stop.
An ex-marine, Urdiales then worked as a private security guard, and appeared to be a functioning member of society.
When asked if he had a gun, without hesitation Urdiales handed over a silver revolver.
The police officer cited Urdiales for carrying a handgun without a permit, confiscating it.
Then he let him go.
Five months later, in April 1997, that same officer attended a hotel call-out, where he found Urdiales arguing with a prostitute.
The woman told how Andrew had requested she be tied up and have sex with him at Wolf Lake. She’d refused.
Quickly noticing parallels to the two unsolved murders, the officer ordered Urdiales’ handgun be tested.
A third murder victim Cassandra Corum, 21, had been found shot dead and dumped in the Vermilion River in Livingston County, 200 miles away.
All three bullets matched Urdiales’ gun.
Urdiales was quickly arrested at the Chicago flat he shared with his parents and older sister. But detectives got more than they were bargaining for…
Andrew Urdiales gave a full, shocking confession to all three killings, then, went on to describe, with ‘an astounding level of detail’, how he’d killed a further five women in California in the 80s and 90s.
‘It was like the details – as much as his victims – were the trophies,’ noted one police officer.
And a spokesman for the Hammond Indiana Police Department, suspected Urdiales might have wanted to get caught.
Assistant State Attorney Alison Perona, prosecuting, described Urdiales as a ‘savage, predatory, cunning killer’ who was caught by a ‘combination of bad luck and good police work’.
At trial in May 2002, Andrew rdiales’ lawyer didn’t dispute he’d killed the three women.
The defence argued that, as a psychotic and paranoid schizophrenic, Urdiales lacked the capacity to conform to state law when he killed.
Both prosecution and defence teams explored Andrew Urdiales’ mental state.
Born on 4 June 1964, the court heard Andrew Urdiales grew up in a violent, abusive home, where his parents neglected him.
It emerged he was a loner, an average student, who graduated from Thornridge High School in 1982.
Psychiatry professor Dr Dorothy Otnow Lewis testified during the trial.
Lewis said Urdiales’ mother was raised in a home ‘in which alcoholism, violence and incest were transmitted from one generation to the next’.
Apparently, she kept a belt in the freezer, which she used to beat her kids. Urdiales’ father also grew up in a violent home.
Lewis said Urdiales wasn’t beaten by his parents. But he suffered attacks at the hands of his peers, who branded him a homosexual.
Andrew joined the Marines not long after leaving high school, enlisting in the US Marine Corps ‘with fantasies of learning to defend himself, and to destroy, not out of patriotism’, Lewis said.
Urdiales had several promotions until, as a Corporal, his men refused to take orders from him, and he was demoted.
Then, after getting a 15-year-old girl pregnant, Andrew Urdiales was given an honourable discharge.
A state expert at his trial argued, however, that his actions weren’t excused by mental illness.
It seemed the jury agreed, finding Andrew Urdiales guilty. And, on 3 September 2003, Judge Edward Fiala sentenced Urdiales to death.
He was on Death Row until Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011. His sentence was commuted to life without the possibility of parole.
However, Andrew Urdiales was indicted in 2009 on five further counts of first-degree murder, and in 2011, he was extradited to the Orange County jail, California, where he’ll face a trial for these heinous crimes later this year.
He’ll also stand accused of the attempted rape and attempted murder of a Californian woman in September 1992. She claims she managed to loosen her hand ties and escape a car boot to survive.
In California, the death penalty still stands. The whole world will be watching for the outcome of the trial.
Could it be Urdiales will face Death Row once again?