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Why Did Ashton Kutcher Testify at Michael Gargiulo’s Trial?

Michael Thomas Gargiulo, a convicted rapist, and serial killer, was sentenced to death on July 16, 2021. He was given the name The Hollywood Ripper by the media before he was caught on June 6, 2008. But did you know that the actor, Ashton Kutcher, testified at his trial?

In 2001, Ashton Kutcher went to Ashley Ellerin’s home to pick her up for a date. There was no answer at the door. Kutcher left then eventually found out that she had been brutally murdered by the “Hollywood Ripper” Michael Gargiulo.

Who is Michael Gargiulo?

Michael Thomas Gargiulo was born on February 15, 1976. He originally came from Glenview, Illinois, and moved to Southern California in 1998. The media had given him the nickname The Hollywood Ripper. 

Back in Glenview, Gargiulo may have stabbed his neighbor, Tricia Pacaccio, to death by their backdoor. Her body was found by her father the next day, on August 14, 1993. It is said he moved to Los Angeles to avoid investigations of Illinois police. He then went on to commit two more murders and one attempted murder between the years 2001 and 2008. (Source: CBS News)

What Happened to Ashley Ellerin?

On February 21, 2001, Gargiulo stabbed 22-year-old fashion design student Ashley Ellerin 47 times. She was found dead in her home in Hollywood the next day. Ellerin’s injuries included a neck wound that almost severed her head. She also suffered from deep punctures to the chest, stomach, and back.

One stab wound actually penetrated the skull and took out a chunk of skull like a puzzle piece.

Tom Small, Detective on the case

On the night Ellerin was killed, she was supposed to go on a date with the actor, Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher arrived at her home, but no one answered, so he had left. He eventually testified at Gargiulo’s trial. (Source: CBS News)

Other Victims of Michael Gargiulo

After Ellerin’s murder, Gargiulo seemed to have stopped killing. But on December 1, 2005, he stabbed his neighbor, 32-year-old Maria Bruno. She was stabbed 17 times in her home in El Monte, California. On April 28, 2008, Gargiulo attempted to murder another neighbor, 26-year-old Michelle Murphy, in Santa Monica. She fought off the attack, and investigators were able to match his DNA with those found at the crime scenes of the other murder victims.

Shortly after Michelle Murphy’s attack, Gargiulo was arrested by the Santa Monica Police Department on June 6, 2008. The Cook County State’s Attorney also charged him with the first-degree murder of Tricia Pacaccio. He was charged for two murders in California and one in Illinois. Though it is uncertain if he did have other victims, police have not linked him to any other murders.

Gargiulo allegedly told the authorities that just because ten women had been killed and his DNA was present at the crime scene didn’t mean that he had murdered them. This led investigators to believe that there were more than three victims.

Michael Gargiulo’s Trial and Sentencing

Gargiulo was convicted on all counts on August 15, 2019. The jury recommended the death penalty after several hours of deliberation. But the sentencing for Gargiulo faced several delays. By July 16, 2021, he was finally sentenced to death. (Source: CBS Local)

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