Michael Gargiulo, the alleged serial killer charged with the deaths of two women, including Ashton Kutcher’s ex-girlfriend Ashley Ellerin, was found guilty in three knife attacks Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Gargiulo, who has been called the “Hollywood Ripper,” was convicted of murdering Ellerin and Maria Bruno, and attempting to murder Michelle Murphy, between 2001 and 2008. As CBS Los Angeles points out, the trial’s second phase will begin next week to determine whether or not Gargiulo was sane at the time of the attacks. Only after that portion concludes, will Gargiulo be sentenced; he is facing either a death sentence or life in prison without parole.
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Following the conclusion of the Los Angeles trial, Gargiulo, 43, will be sent to Illinois, where he is facing separate charges for the 1993 murder of then-18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio.
A former bouncer and air conditioner repairman, Gargiulo allegedly stalked his victims before brutally attacking them. In the case of Ellerin, an aspiring actress and fashion student who also worked as an exotic dancer, Gargiulo allegedly helped her fix a flat tire one night, but then repeatedly showed up at her home unannounced and was seen surveilling the area around her house.
Kutcher, who was dating Ellerin at the time of her death, testified at the trial back in May. The actor said he had made plans with Ellerin the night she was killed, February 21st, 2001, and police believe he spoke with her not long before Gargiulo attacked her from behind as she got out of the shower, allegedly stabbing her 47 times before fleeing the scene.
During his testimony, Kutcher said he arrived at Ellerin’s home around 10:45 p.m. that night and when she didn’t answer the door, he assumed she’d “bailed” on their date because he’d shown up late. Kutcher added that before he left, he peaked through the front window and saw what he thought was “red wine spilled on the carpet.” But the stain didn’t alarm him at the time, he said, because he assumed it was leftover from a house party Ellerin had hosted a few days prior. Kutcher was informed of Ellerin’s death the following day.
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