SANTA ANA — A former Marine convicted of killing three women in Illinois pleaded not guilty Friday to murdering five more women in California.
Andrew Urdiales entered the plea in Superior Court in Santa Ana, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney’s office.
Authorities allege Urdiales killed five women in Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties between 1986 and 1995. Many of his victims were prostitutes who were repeatedly stabbed or shot.
Urdiales was convicted in 2002 of two murders in Illinois and a third in 2004 and sentenced to death. Two of those sentences were commuted to life without the possibility of parole in 2002 by then-Gov. George Ryan. When Illinois banned the death penalty, Urdiales’ third sentence also was commuted to life without the possibility of parole.
Last year, Urdiales was extradited to Orange County, where prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Messages were left Friday for defense attorneys Lewis Clapp and Constance Istratescu.
Orange County prosecutors say Urdiales began a killing spree soon after moving to Southern California in 1984 as a 19-year-old Marine. He murdered four women while in the military and a fifth while vacationing in Palm Springs in 1995, four years after his discharge, prosecutors allege.
The cases went unsolved for more than a decade until Urdiales was arrested after his return to his native Illinois and confessed there to the California killings, prosecutors said.
Urdiales is being held without bail. His next court hearing is Feb. 10.
- From the Associated Press