tv Inside Evil With Chris Cuomo CNN December 14, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PST
fire those lights up. >> all right. >> taking the microphone over, too. >> how are you doing? all right? >> how long? >> three minutes. >> three minutes. >> on the 9th of october 2018, i had exclusive access to a serial killer for what would turn out to be the last interview of his life. all right. here i am. this is chris cuomo in new york testing out the ifb, or this speakerphone. can you hear me? for a decade, this man hunted women in the united states and mercilessly killed them, operating with impunity under the radar of law enforcement. >> yeah, i can hear you. can you hear me? >> i can. there's a little bit of a delay, but that's okay. that's something that i'll deal with. and even though he killed more women than jack the ripper, very few of us have ever heard his name. how did someone get away with so
many murders for so many years? and what is going on in his mind? >> i'm kind of concerned about what kind of questions you're gonna ask me. >> i'm the one who's gonna determine the questions. >> all right. >> all right, good. so, if you're ready to begin, we will, alright? everybody there in that room is okay and ready to be quiet? >> yes. >> so, we'll start in three, two, one. ♪ toward the end of the day, dozens of crows settle in the trees of saddleback college in mission viejo, california. the collective term for these birds is a murder. >> as i was walking through here, i felt really something
not right, and i was actually really scared, very, very scared. and as i walked towards the library door, i started to hurry as fast as i could. >> still now, every time she comes on campus, julia brady-jenner can't help but remember the night of january 18, 1986. >> i got to the side door here, and i pulled the door handle, and it was locked. it had locked automatically. >> with no one in sight, she wandered around the dark campus with the strangest feeling in her gut. >> there was something going on, and it's, i can only say, evil. it was bad. and i had no idea what was happening. >> the campus was practically empty after a big concert. julia had recently taken a teaching job there and, on
nights when she was working late, refused to walk to her car alone. she finally found a colleague who agreed to drive her to her car. >> we looped around to the far back row, where we were parked. and so when the headlights came around the corner, we saw her on the pavement and stopped. >> in the headlights, they saw a woman lying on the ground. >> i recognized the dress right away. and her dressed was pulled up, and her purse was down on the ground. and i thought, "well, this doesn't make sense." >> it didn't make sense because the dress belonged to one of her students with whom she'd spent most of the evening. they'd parted ways only half an hour earlier. >> when you see a body like that, it really doesn't look real. it almost looked like a ragdoll of sorts. and i hate to use that term
because that's awful, but that's what it was. >> the scene was a bloodbath. a young woman had been stabbed 41 times. >> we were so fearful. the first thing we said was, "there's a psychotic person here running amuck on campus." and it was because of the brutality of it. we didn't know if he was right there, if he was hiding behind a tree. the level of fear was ramped up even more because -- because he stabbed her so much. >> police asked julia to help identify the body. >> and it took me about, i'm gonna say, a few minutes to really say her name because they said, "we really do need you to tell us. we need a confirmation." i said, "robbin brandley." >> robbin brandley, 23 years old, a communications student at
saddleback college who'd volunteered to work as an usher at the campus concert that night. >> it has always been hard over the years to say her name. robbin is this beautiful girl whose live was cut short and who was a friend of mine who i thought was wonderful. >> police started investigating. >> there really was minimal evidence, and it was very random. >> helen moreno is a retired supervising investigator with the orange county district attorney's office. >> there was no rape. there was no loss. there was nothing taken. so there just really was no evidence that led us in any one
direction. >> they kept talking about it being a crime of passion because it was very brutal. they had a few suspects here and there. some were in my class. the police told me that. "you just have to go on teaching as if, but if you find anything out, you need to let us know." >> life on campus felt unsafe. >> we all felt that we really needed clearly to know who did this and that we would know immediately. >> but time passed, and answers were scarce. they could find no one with a motive to kill robbin. >> there were times where i'd walk into my radio class and the detectives would be sitting in the back of the room, trying to be inconspicuous. >> they were interviewing family, friends, acquaintances. they would do patrols around the college. they were looking for any other
type of random incidents that may be similar, but nothing that they looked at panned out. >> and at one point then, as things were not working out, you know, as they were following other clues, they had left. >> there were no suspects, just a remarkably violent murder that ended up going cold. >> there's no logic or reasoning behind what happened to her. >> that was the first of a string of seemingly unconnected murders, all women, all unsolved. in july of 1988, the body of julie mcghee is found in a desolate part of the desert near palm springs. that case goes cold because of lack of evidence. two months after that, mary ann wells, single mother, found in a downtown alley in san diego,
california. there was an expended shell casing from the bullet that killed her, but it's not enough for authorities to identify the killer. that case goes cold also. the following year, 1989, 18-year-old tammie erwin is found shot dead in the desert near palm springs. she was dressed in shorts, with white cloth tennis shoes, lying facedown in the blood-soaked earth -- another unsolved murder. and then, in 1992, a young woman called jennifer asbenson came running out of the desert screaming that she'd just been kidnapped and assaulted by a madman. >> i felt like a trapped wild animal that was about to be butchered. >> when we come back, jennifer comes face-to-face with a terrifying killer.
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september 1992, palm springs, california. 19-year-old jennifer asbenson had to get to work in the neighboring town, desert hot springs. she didn't have a car, and she had just missed the bus. i was racking my brain with, "who do i know? who can give me a ride? i don't know what i'm gonna do. i'm gonna lose my job." >> what kind of person were you at that point in your life? >> i felt a lot like a child
still, childlike, but i was becoming an adult. my mother was abusive. i felt like all of the negative and bad things in the world pretty much happened in my own home. i didn't want to stay in that frame of mind that i was an abused child and i'm not gonna go anywhere. i had goals and dreams. >> jennifer had just moved out of her parental home. for the first time, she was independent, embarking on her adult life. >> i was a certified nurse assistant, and i took care of handicapped, disabled children. and my job was to work the nocturnal shift. >> it was already dark, and it would be a while before the next bus. >> i just thought, "i am gonna get in trouble if i am late." and i hear a voice from over here on the side of me say, "hey, do you need a ride?" and i just automatically said, "no, i'm okay. thank you." and then it hit me -- "this
guy's offering you a ride. that's something you need." >> he didn't sound menacing? >> no. no, no, no, no, no. he was nice. he looked small. he had a weak-sounding voice, just, "hey, do you need a ride?" and so i just said, "hey, wait. where you going?" and he said he was going towards desert hot springs, and that's exactly where i was going. i rushed behind his car, and i thought, "look at his license plate, just in case. try to memorize it." and right when i sat down and he started talking, i just forgot about it 'cause he came off as a little -- a little strange, but harmless, just maybe -- maybe not that social. it was just, like, two awkward people in a car trying to have a conversation.
>> there was no "stranger danger" alarm going off in her head. >> i just thought, "okay, this guy's a little weird, but at least -- at least i'm not gonna get fired." >> but during the ride, there were some creepy moments. >> we stopped at a red light. he asked what my goals and dreams were in life, and i said, "to be an actress." and he said, "oh, like a porn star?" and i went, "oh, you sicko. no, not a porn star." and he stopped, and he goes, "what did you call me?" >> it was 10:00 p.m. on sunday night when the man dropped jennifer off and asked for her phone number. >> i gave him a fake number. i just changed the last digit of the number. then i went into my job. i made it on time. i work there all throughout the night without incident.
>> that monday in september of 1992, she left the group home right before 6:00 a.m. and decided to take a different route home. >> just wanted to avoid him if he was coming. and when i got almost to the corner, i heard the gravel on the road and a car. i heard the tires going over the gravel. and i knew that it was him. he said, "good morning. how are you? did you want to go to breakfast?" >> she couldn't figure out how to say no gracefully without offending him. >> and so i just turned and looked at him. he looked friendly, and i didn't feel scared. i just thought, "oh, geez. now i've got to deal with him again." he rolled down the passenger window, and he just was nice. >> she got in the car. >> it was daylight.
it was -- it was this light out. >> immediately, he brought up the fake phone number she'd given him. what went through you when he started asking you about the fake number? >> i started stuttering, which made it very apparent that i was lying. he just turned into another person, and he just screamed, "it wasn't the right number! i called the number, and some old [bleep] answered!" and when he did that, he went from a nice person to something sinister. and then he pulled over. he slammed my head into the dash, pulled my hands behind my back. i saw a gun.
i saw a knife. then he started tying my hands, my wrists together with twine. then he just took off, and he started driving down a main road. your mind is paralyzed. your body is paralyzed. and then it struck me, "yes, he is doing this because i gave him a fake number." >> well, no. he was doing this 'cause he was a savage, evil monster, and this is what he did. you didn't bring this upon yourself. he marked you from the moment he had you in the car. >> right. >> and so it began, a life-and-death drive into the desert. >> who's gonna just pop up in the middle of this desert to save me? >> so, how did jennifer live to tell the tale of her abduction by this serial killer? when we come back.
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now "big insurance" is lobbying congress. asking for restrictions on air medical services. eliminating patients' access to life-saving care and destroying jobs all in exchange for bigger profits for insurance companies. tell congress, put patients first, not big insurance. 19-year-old jennifer asbenson accepted a ride from a stranger. it was now an abduction. she was trapped in a car with a raging lunatic barreling away from desert hot springs, heading towards the middle of nowhere. she recalls the horrifying details vividly. be advised -- they're very tough to hear. the reason we're including them is because she's the only
witness to how this serial killer operated. >> i was in the car next to him. he had -- he had already bashed my head into the dashboard, tied my hands behind my back, to which i could not fight. >> was he saying anything to you? >> "shut up, whore. shut up bitch." that's all he would say. >> she showed us the route they took that morning in 1992. >> we were about right here. he reached over and undid my seatbelt and pulled me over by the head and tried to have me perform oral sex on him. and he couldn't function. he got really frustrated, and he just punched me and pushed me back into the seat. and i just laid there thinking, "please, please don't go to the desert that i think you're going to."
the worst part of it was being in that car and seeing everybody else fresh in the morning, living their lives, going to work, and knowing that i was so alone and i was about to be raped or possibly murdered. and life was going on around me. when he started to slow down right here again, i thought, "please do not turn to the right. please do not turn to the right." and he turned to the right. and i knew that's where we were gonna go, a place where nobody could hear me scream. >> forced to lie back in the passenger seat, she was only able to see telephone poles going by. >> the first telephone pole made me think, "oh, gosh, i'm gonna
be raped." the second telephone pole made me think, "he's gonna hurt me." each telephone pole just signifies the loss of hope. and so i just looked at him, and i said, "you could rape me. is that what you're gonna do?" i started thinking that i would have some sense of control if i told him what he could do to me. maybe he wouldn't be so violent. he just started yelling, "shut up bitch. shut up, whore." he called me a whore so many times. >> when they were far enough away from any paved roads, in the middle of the desert, he stopped the car. >> he got my underwear and shoved them into my mouth. he shoved and shoved until i could feel the sides here
starting to make noises like it was tearing. it was just me in that car and this human that was now the closest thing to a demon you could ever imagine. i knew he had no sympathy, no empathy, no compassion. he tortured me in that car so much. i made my mind go elsewhere. i didn't want to feel it. i didn't want to remember it. and then i saw that he didn't have an erection, and so that made me panic because he started growing more and more angry. so i told him it was okay. he just looked at me, and he said, "tell me you love me."
i couldn't just say it. i had to think, and then i just said, "i love you. i love you." and he goes, "no, you don't. say it like you mean it." and he just started strangling me. and my next thought was, "i'm never gonna be found. i'm never gonna be found. i'm gonna be dumped in that desert with the rest of the trash," because that was what he thought of me, "and i'm gonna be eaten by coyotes." >> she couldn't breathe. >> he put the gun in my mouth. he pistol-whipped me. he kept torturing me. i just kept saying, "just shoot me, you coward. just shoot me." then he opened the door and pushed me out. he went to the trunk, and he grabbed a big bag of knives.
blades were sticking out of it. when i saw the knives, i just ran. the next thing i knew, something struck me to the back of my head, and i fell on the ground. >> he dragged her to the car and forced her into the trunk. >> and my whole world went dark. and then he drove off. >> on the bumpy dirt road, jennifer says she prayed for death. when we come back -- >> i felt like a trapped wild animal that was about to be butchered. - [spokeswoman] meet the ninja foodi pressure cooker,
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>> i could just hear, "crunch, crunch, crunch, cr--" i could hear them coming undone. and then i just went like this, and they were undone. >> in the dark with her fingers, she found the latch. >> i just lifted it and pulled it back down. and he saw that. and he pulled over immediately. he jumped out. he was yelling, "quit f'ing around back there, or i'll shoot the backseat out." >> she shut the trunk, and he got back in the car and stepped on the gas. but the car didn't move. call it fate, luck, or just coincidence. the car was stuck in soft sand. jennifer saw her chance. >> i opened that trunk again and flipped it up and jumped out.
i see a truck coming towards me in the distance, and i just run. all i have on is a sweatshirt, but the sweatshirt goes down to my knees. and when i heard the brakes of that truck come to a halt, i just let out a deep breath. the passenger got out and came and got me and put me in the car. then we -- we tried to catch him. >> did you see him? >> he was gone. >> her rescuers drove her to a gas station. the police and paramedics arrived. >> i was put on a gurney, and i overheard a familiar voice talking to a cop. and the voice said, "oh, she's just a storyteller." and it was my mom. and i screamed, "mom, i was kidnapped! i was almost murdered." >> the police took her story, but her mother had sewn a seed of doubt. what was it like when you
realized that people were not believing you? >> it was so horrible. it was like i was being re-victimized all over again. >> despite the physical wounds showing evidence of a violent kidnapping, without witnesses, the case went cold. jennifer spent the next few years in and out of mental institutions, wondering about her own sanity. but the strong sense that other women were in danger if this man was still out in the world never left her. >> the entire time, i knew he was a murderer. i knew he had done this before because he knew what he was doing. it was so easy. >> for years, this shadowy menace continued to hunt and kill women completely under the radar. and then, in 1997, detective john booth received a phone call out of the blue. >> i was a homicide detective for palm springs police
department. about 7:30 in the morning, i get a phone call that says there's some detectives from chicago who have arrested a man who's committed some murders there. >> the bodies of three women had turned up floating in the water near chicago. >> lori uylaki and lynn huber were dumped in the wolf lake. cassandra corum was dumped in the vermilion river. >> james mckay is a former cook county prosecutor. >> there were no eyewitnesses to these crimes. it's difficult to identify them. their i.d.s are gone. their clothing are gone. >> there were many similarities in the three cases -- the naked bodies, all dumped in water, and the fact that the victims were all said by police to be sex workers. the idea that there was a killer on the loose created panic. >> the fbi and police agencies are trying desperately to solve what one investigator calls a
real mystery. >> but ballistic evidence would hold the key, linking the deaths of these women. >> police detectives were able to determine that the bullets used to shoot both lori uylaki and lynn huber were found to be from the same gun. but they just didn't have the gun. >> then police got a tip from a sex worker who'd been terrified by a disturbing request from a client. >> he wanted to take her here to wolf lake, that he wanted to duct-tape her. she would have no part of that. but her information was ultimately sent to the chicago police department. >> based on her description, they realized that this particular man had been caught with an illegal gun not long before. they retrieved it and took it over to the forensics lab. >> and lo and behold, the scientists at the crime lab were able to determine that that gun,
to the exclusion of every gun in the world, was the gun that killed those three ladies. >> the gun belonged to a 32-year-old security guard, a former marine, desert storm veteran originally from illinois. his name -- andrew urdiales. he was apprehended coming out of his house on the south side of chicago, where he lived with his parents. he didn't resist when the police showed up. soon after he sat down with detectives, urdiales started spilling the beans -- to their surprise, murder after murder after murder. >> he showed no remorse whatsoever. he was providing a lot of detail for all of these murders because he was proud of it. >> he also confessed to other murders he'd committed 2,000
miles away. that's why detective booth's phone rang on an april morning in 1997. >> while they were interviewing him, he admitted to doing murders here in palm springs. and then he told me the names of the palm springs victims. he said, "denise maney." and i go, "oh, my gosh, she's one of our cold cases -- denise." he said, "tammie erwin." i go, "oh, she's another one of our cold cases." >> detective booth ran to the airport and took the first flight to chicago. he was going to sit down with the killer, who had remained faceless and nameless for so long. >> this is the most evil person i think i've ever met in my life. >> when we come back, urdiales' confessions. listen. >> next thing i know, i had the -- the .45 was pointed at her. and i fired it two more times. >> mr. urdiales, do you believe that you are sane? next. just because we're super hungry...
>> i interview him, and he methodically goes from victim to victim to victim, describing what they were wearing. >> i remember she was wearing, like, a one-piece, like a jumpsuit. she had, like, those lingerie-type things. jewelry, like the indian jewelry. she had on white tennis shoes. they were, like, white cloth tennis shoes. >> detective booth remembers being amazed by the precision of andrew urdiales' recollections. >> i made a slashing motion by the throat, but she still had on her necklace. then the next thing i know, i just -- the gun was just pointed at her again, and i fired it two more times.
>> stuff that i actually had to stop and look into our books to make sure that he was telling the truth, look at the photographs of the deceased and go, "oh, my gosh, he's exactly right on with the shoes, the underwear," on and on and on. >> i remember her name was tammie. i think she was wearing maybe denim shorts. she had short blonde hair, too. >> tammie erwin was urdiales' youngest victim. he shot her three times. she was just 18 years old. >> she had me wrapped around her little finger. she was -- she was my everything. >> the families of the victims had been waiting for news. charles erwin, tammie's father, waited eight long years. >> i would lay awake at night just wondering what happened, what she went through. after seeing her, i just thought the worst. >> they started to get the news that their loved ones had been the victim of a serial killer who'd just been caught in chicago. >> the emotions just started
then, and it has been an emotional rollercoaster ever since. >> urdiales confessed in excruciating detail about killing three women in illinois, five more in southern california, including robbin brandley, his first victim, a total stranger he stabbed 41 times in a parking lot at saddleback college when he was in the marines. >> i think i stabbed her once in the stomach. she let out a scream. >> to find out that it was completely random -- i mean, that's really hard to understand. >> and then urdiales told detective booth about one more who got away. >> she was a very pretty girl. i asked her how old she was. she said she was 19. i asked her what's her name. she said her name was jennifer. >> he described for me an incident where he picked up a girl and gave her a ride.
she had missed a bus -- he dropped her off at a cripple children's home, where she spent the night at watching the kids. but got very, very, very mad at her because she gave him a number, a phone number, that wasn't good. and that just infuriated him to the point where the next morning he was there waiting for her when she got off duty. picked her up under the ruse of, i'm going to take you to breakfast. and then the violence started. >> so, it was urdiales himself who finally corroborated jennifer's story. he admitted kidnapping her and attempting to rape her, but she escaped. >> the hood had popped open. she had her hands free at the time. she was still wearing her sweatshirt, and she ran screaming. >> the last time he saw her, she was flagging down a pickup truck. >> i don't know if somebody else picked her up and finished what i started. >> he was assuming that those
people -- "well, here's a naked woman. i'll just finish the rape, the sodomy, and the killing of her," to finish what he couldn't finish. it was just amazing. i had goosebumps when i heard him say that. >> after hearing that confession, palm springs police contacted jennifer. >> "don't watch the news. don't listen to the radio. just come down as soon as you can." we get to the police station and we walk in and people were looking at me like they had not looked at me ever in my life. they brought me into a room. there was a detective in front of me. he took a deep breath, and he said, "something happened to you four or five years ago." and i was confused. and it ran through my mind, "that thing in the desert? no, i'm not even gonna bring that up. i don't want to look like a freak." and he said, "you were kidnapped?"
and i just thought, "oh, my goodness. it was real." >> what did that mean to you, that he remembered you? >> it was creepy to hear that he said, "and there was one that got away. her name was jennifer." >> the detective spread some photos of men's faces out on a table. >> he said, "we would like you to pick a picture out of these five photos of the man that did this to you." and i looked down and i looked right at him and i pushed his picture. i said, "that's him." and he said, "ms. asbenson, please look at all the photos." and he pushed it back. and i said, "nope. that's him." and he said, "well, if this is for sure the man that did this to you, this man is a serial killer, and he killed eight women. and you're the only one that got away."
and i cannot -- and i'll never be able to describe what it feels like to realize you're not insane. >> jennifer was finally >> jennifer was finally vindicated, but she would have to face urdiales again, in court, when we return. >> i wanted to go, because i wanted to see him, and i kind of wanted to say, look at me, here i am. ♪
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more than 15 years after he first started his killing spree, andrew urdiales stood for the first of his two trials in the chicago area. james mckay was the prosecutor for cook county. >> i do believe he was proud of what he had done. these women he had killed, he had absolutely no respect for. he thought they deserved to die. >> the stakes were high for the murders and the bodies dumped in the lake. >> there was no remorse. in the back he'd be cutting jokes with the sheriffs. in court he sat there quietly and showed no emotion whatsoever. >> urdiales was only on trial for the murders in chicago, but
the families of his california victims wanted to see him face justice. charles irwin, the father of urdiales' youngest victim, tammy, was there for day one. >> everything in court brought everything back up. anytime somebody said something about one of the girls my mind thinks my daughter might have gone through some of that, too. >> jennifer asbenson also flew to chicago. it was important for you. you wanted to go to the trial. why? >> yes. the main reason was i wanted to see him go down. i wanted him to get the death penalty. i know what all those girls went through. >> because my daughter wasn't killed, the only thing we were able to do as victims is tell about our loved ones. i think we were all hoping that his life would ended there. i'm not a vindictive person or
anything like that, but the way he killed these girls was just very brutal. very uncaring, callous. >> julia, who found robin bradley stabbed 41 times in a parking lot was hoping for the death penalty, too. >> i think when you hunt people and harm women and torture them, you don't have any rights. so to me, the death penalty is when somebody clearly cannot be rehabilitated, to have the planet cursed with them is, is questionable. >> urdiales' defense team was trying to avoid the death penalty by pleading insanity, the prosecution wasn't having it. >> we approached the insanity defense with a great deal of preparation. we had expert witnesses, the
chiefen fr chief forensic psychiatrist in cook county indicated urdiales was not insane. he taken several steps to prepare for his crimes and then took several steps to cover up his crimes. both of which are completely inconsistent with a true insanity defense. >> and the jury agreed with the prosecution. on may 30, 2002, angrdrew urdias was sentenced to death. two years later he received a second death sentence at livingston county courthouse for the murder and dumping of the body in the vermillion river in illinois. >> i was satisfied when i left chicago. >> but in 2011, illinois's governor signed a law that abolished the death penalty. >> my heart just sunk. >> urdiales' sentence was changed to life without parole. that's when the district
attorneys of orange county, california, stepped in. >> the public thinks, okay, well, he's got life. life doesn't really mean anything. life prisoners get paroled all the time. people like andrew urdiales don't get better. as long as he had access to women in positions of vulnerability, he was going to continue killing them for the rest of his life. >> so he began the process of extradition. >> these were human beings. and he had no right to do what he did. and the way he did it was so brutal. death penalty is the only appropriate sentence. >> and here in california, after his third capital trial, i was given exclusive access to speak with him. mr. urdiales, can you hear me? >> yes, sir. >> one of the first things this serial killer told me, he didn't
agree request t agree with the insanity defense in chicago. >> i just did not agree with it, would you have to be totally, excuse my language, bat shit craze tee belie crazy to believe i'm insane. >> do you believe you are sain? >> yes, i believe i'm sane. >> do you believe you were sane in the '80s and '90s. >> i was in the marines, i would have to be sane. >> so how did he become such a monster? who is this serial killer? are there any clues to be found in his childhood? coming up in our next hour, a psychiatrist who examined urdiales weighs in. and we ask this killer some very tough questions. >> you're leavin' something out. >> what is it that i'm leavin' out? >> the truth. mr. urdiales, let's just cut to
the chase on this. more of the last interview andrew urdiales will ever give, in our second hour. operating under the radar, a serial killer who murdered more women than jack the ripper, discarding their bodies in alley ways, lakes and deserts. only one woman managed to escape to tell the story. >> here i am in the middle of the desert, about to be murdered. >> sick or evil? >> he was evil. >> faceless and nameless for a decade. the man who viciously murdered eight women finally brought to justice. >> andrew urdiales. >> andrew urdiales. >> andrew urdiales hated