Published: Fri, August 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

‘Hollywood Ripper’ found guilty of murdering two women, including Ashton Kutcher’s date

‘Hollywood Ripper’ found guilty of murdering two women, including Ashton Kutcher’s date

A jury found a man nicknamed the "Hollywood Ripper" guilty on Thursday of knifing to death two women, including a date of actor Ashton Kutcher, and attempting to murder a third victim.

Just hours before 43-year-old Michael Gargiulo was convicted of two murders and one attempted murder.

In addition to Ellerin's murder, Gargiulo was also charged with the 2005 murder of 32-year old Maria Bruno in her El Monte home and the 2008 attempted murder of Michelle Murphy in her Santa Monica apartment.

Scores of witnesses took the stand, including actor Ashton Kutcher, who went to Ellerin's home the night she was killed. She had been stabbed 47 times, prosecutors said. He is being tried separately in IL in connection with Pacaccio's murder. She dropped off a friend about 1 a.m. before heading home.

Actor Ashton Kutcher testifies in the murder trial of serial killer suspect Michael Gargiulo.

The murdered women had injuries to their breasts, and one was found almost decapitated, he said.

After Ellerin's death, Gargiulo moved to a gated apartment complex in El Monte where he fatally stabbed his neighbor Maria Bruno on December 1, 2005. He testified during the trial that he went Ellerin's home that night and that the lights were on, but nobody answered the door.

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But he recalled looking in the window and seeing what he had thought were red wine stains, he said.

Kutcher said he learned what happened to Ellerin the next day and freaked out after speaking with police because he knew his fingerprints would be at the scene. He is said to have worked as an air-conditioner repairman and Hollywood nightclub bouncer around the time Ellerin and Bruno were killed. Murphy was stabbed while in bed at her Santa Monica apartment but was able to fight back, causing the attacker to cut himself. He said he left thinking she had gone out without him in frustration.

"He collected real-time intelligence on the victims and then manipulated the circumstances to provide himself with the ideal opportunity to pounce and kill in blitz-type knife attacks", Prosecutor Daniel Akemon said at the trial in May.

In the prosecution's closing argument, Dameron praised Murphy, whose resistance against Gargiulo led to his arrest.

Gargiulo's lawyers have argued their client suffered from a mental disorder that left him in a confusing "fugue state" during the attack on Murphy, the Los Angeles Times reported. He denied the other slayings, pointing toward others who had been visiting the women before they died.

Gargiulo is expected to later be extradited to IL to face charges in that killing.

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