Hollywood Ripper Michael Gargiulo guilty of killing Ashton Kutcher’s ex and mum-of-four
A man dubbed the Hollywood Ripper has been found guilty of brutally killing Ashton Kutcher’s ex-girlfriend by stabbing her 47 times just hours before she was about to go on a date with the actor.
Evil Michael Gargiulo also murdered a mum-of-four and tried to kill another woman in his killing spree which happened in the Los Angeles area between 2001 and 2008.
He “took pleasure in plunging a knife into his victims over and over again, leaving them to die and be found by their loved ones”, a court previously heard.
He was a neighbour of each of the women at the time of the attacks.
He gave no reaction when the verdicts were read today.
During the murder trial – which lasted almost four months – sick details emerged about the 43-year-old, including how he had studied forensics, researched serial killers like Ted Bundy and read a book about how to kill people.
Gargiulo, an air conditioning repairman, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ashton’s ex girlfriend Ashley Ellerin, 22, and mother-of-four Maria Bruno, 32.
He also tried to kill Michelle Murphy, 26, but she managed to fight him off and survived.
Gargiulo is currently awaiting trial in Illinois for the 1993 killing of Tricia Pacaccio when he was 17.
A jury handed down the verdict after three days of deliberations on two charges of murder and one of attempted murder.
Ashley Ellerin had been stabbed 47 times, with wounds of up to six inches deep over her chest, stomach, neck and back in February 2001 at her Hollywood Hills home.
While Maria Bruno was stabbed to death at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte in 2005.
In 2008, Gargiulo also tried to murder Michelle Murphy, the only surviving victim who led to his arrest.
Ms Murphy was attacked while she was lying in bed in her Santa Monica apartment but she miraculously managed to fight him off.
Assistant District Attorney Garrett Dameron had told the trial: “He [Gargiulo] took precautions not to leave evidence behind.
“He never left behind any weapon of article of clothing and he disposed of that evidence.
“He researched other serial killers, like Bundy. He told people he knew how to leave no fingerprints.
“He knew how to avoid being seen exiting a crime scene covers in blood and with a bloody knife.”
It was on February 21, 2001, that Ashton Kutcher was due to meet Ashley Ellerin and take her to a Grammy Awards after-party.
But he was late, and instead she was murdered in her own home, her body lying undiscovered in a pool of blood for 12 hours.
Then 23, Ashton had arranged to collect the university student and part-time stripper at 8pm for dinner and drinks, but called at 7.30pm to tell her he was running late.
The trial heard how she allegedly had consensual sex with the manager of her Hollywood Hills apartment, who left at 8.15pm.
At 8.24pm she phoned Ashton to say she was showered and drying her hair. But instead of going to pick her up as planned, Ashton stayed at his friend Christie Swanson’s house, watching the awards on TV.
“I told her I would be a little late and she said , ‘OK, see you later’,” he told a trial into her death.
By the time he’d walked his dogs and driven to her house it was gone 10:30pm and she was already dead.
Confused, he could see her BMW in the drive, the lights on in her house and what looked like red wine on the carpet.
Ashton – whose star was on the rise thanks to That 70s Show – thought she was ignoring him for being late, when in fact she had been brutally murdered, and the wine was her blood.
“I knocked on the door, no answer. I knocked again, no answer. I looked through the window on the front door and didn’t see anything. I tried the front door knob and it was locked,” he told the jury.
“I thought it was odd that the lights were on. It looks like it was a bit of a mess, but I didn’t think anything of that because she had just moved in.”
“I figured I had screwed up – I had showed up too late,” Ashton – who went on to marry Demi Moore two years later – added.
The next day he found out she was dead.
A postmortem revealed Ashley had been knifed 47 times, with 12 of the blows fatal.
There were defense wounds on right forearm and hands. Her windpipe and artery had been cut in two.
Chillingly, prosecutors told the court Gargiulo had ‘injected himself’ into Ashley’s life after changing her tyre and fixing her furnace.
He’d been at her housewarming party two months ago, on the very night Ashley and Ashton first got friendly.
Some reported seeing Gargiulo park in front of her home at all hours, staring at her residence for long periods of time. Her roommate thought he was a stalker.
Garguilo is said to have got himself a key cut and let himself into her split-level bungalow before murdering her in cold blood.
When Ashton heard the news, he flew into a tailspin because his prints were all over her door.
“I went to her door, my fingerprints were on the door. I was freaking out,” he told the court, revealing how he went straight to the police.
Meanwhile, Gargiulo met his other victim Maria Bruno after moving into the same apartment complex.
In 2005, prosecutors said he attacked her as she slept and “quite literally butchered her,” slicing off her breasts and placing part of one on her mouth.
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