Andrew Urdiales
Andrew Urdiales. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Department of Corrections

A former Camp Pendleton Marine who was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of a San Diego woman and four others in Southern California was found dead in his jail cell at San Quentin, prison officials announced Monday.

Andrew Urdiales, 54, was found unresponsive during a security check around 11:15 p.m. Friday night, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Prison officers performed CPR but Urdiales was pronounced dead at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, officials said.

The cause of his death is pending the results of an autopsy but it was believed to be suicide because he was in the cell by himself, CDCR officials said.

Urdiales was convicted of the Southern California killings May 23, and the same jury recommended in June that he be put to death. He was formally sentenced to death Oct. 5.

Urdiales killed five women in Orange, San Diego and Riverside counties between 1986 and 1995.

He had been sentenced to death in Chicago and Livingston County, Illinois, in two separate trials there for murdering three women, but when the death penalty was abolished in Illinois he was re-sentenced to life without parole. He was brought to Orange County in 2011 to be tried for the five murders in Southern California.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg Prickett ensured that Urdiales was sentenced to five consecutive death sentences in case any of his individual convictions were overturned or commuted by a governor.

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.

— City News Service contributed to this report