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Ashton Kutcher Testifies in Trial of Alleged Serial Killer Michael Gargiulo

His ex-girlfriend, Ashley Ellerin, was murdered in 2001

US actor Ashton Kutcher appears in court to testify during the Michael Thomas Gargiulo's trial at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 29 May 2019. Michael Gargiulo, also called the 'Hollywood Ripper', is charged with murder and attempted murder of young women in the L.A. area. Once the trial is over, Gargiulo will be sent back to Illinois to face murder charges for his alleged first victim.Trial People v Michael Thomas Gargiulo - Ashton Kutcher's testimony, Los Angeles, USA - 29 May 2019

Ashton Kutcher appears in court to testify during the Michael Thomas Gargiulo's trial at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles.

Genaro Molina/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

On Wednesday, Ashton Kutcher testified in the trial of Michael Gargiulo, an alleged serial killer who has been charged with the deaths of two women, including Kutcher’s ex-girlfriend Ashley Ellerin.

According to Kutcher’s testimony, he and Ellerin had made plans to get dinner and drinks on February 21st, 2001, and he had arranged to pick her up at her Hollywood apartment. The last time they spoke was at 8:24 p.m. that night, when he called to confirm their date. Police suspect that Ellerin was killed shortly after getting off the phone with Kutcher, and that she was just getting out of the shower when she was attacked from behind by Gargiulo, who stabbed her 47 times before allegedly fleeing the scene.

Kutcher testified that he arrived at Ellerin’s home around 10:45 p.m. When he rang the doorbell, she didn’t answer, though Kutcher noticed the lights were on inside. After ringing the bell a few times, he assumed that she had “bailed” on the date, he said, and headed to his friend’s house to watch the Grammy Awards.

Chillingly, Kutcher said that before he left, he looked through the front window and saw what he thought was “red wine spilled on the carpet.” “But that wasn’t alarming because I went to her house party [days before] and it was like a college party, he said. I didn’t think much about it.”

The next day, Kutcher testified, he was approached by police, who told him that Ellerin’s body had been found by her roommate. Kutcher said that at the time, he was “freaking out”  that police would view him as a suspect because he had tried to open the door to Ellerin’s apartment, leaving his fingerprints on the door. The police, however, assured him that he was not a suspect. 

Known as the “Hollywood Ripper,” Gargiulo, 43, is facing trial on two charges of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is being charged with the 2001 stabbing death of Ellerin as well as the 2005 stabbing death of Maria Bruno, 32. He is also facing a murder charge in Illinois for the 1993 stabbing death of Chicago resident Tricia Pacaccio, 18.

A former bouncer and air conditioner repairmen, Gargiulo is alleged to have systematically stalked his victims, most of whom were beautiful young women, before brutally attacking them. In the case of Ellerin, an aspiring actress and fashion student who moonlighted as an exotic dancer, Gargiulo allegedly gained her trust by offering to fix her flat tire. Before her death, he was known to show up at her home unannounced and was sighted surveilling the area around her home.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Gargiulo, who has pled not guilty. In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon referred to Gargiulo as a brutal killer whose “hobby was plotting the perfect opportunity to attack women with a knife in and around their homes.”

 

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