Michael Gargiulo, dubbed as 'Hollywood Ripper', was sentenced to death by Los Angeles Superior Court in California on Friday. Gargiulo was convicted of murders of two women, including Ashton Kutcher's then gal pal Ashley Ellerin.
The death sentence was awarded by Judge Larry P. Fidler, who referred to Gargiulo's crimes as vicious and frightening. "Everywhere that Mr. Gargiulo went, death and destruction followed him," Fidler said.
Gargiulo is a former bouncer, air-conditioner repairman and also an aspiring actor. He was convicted in August 2019 in the murders of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, in 2001, and 32-year-old Maria Bruno in 2005. In addition to this, 45-year-old Gargiulo was found guilty of attempted murder of a woman in 2008 in Santa Monica.
According to prosecutors, Gargiulo had targeted young, good-looking women. He was called as 'The boy next door killer' by prosecutors and media had named him 'The chiller killer' and the 'Hollywood ripper'. Reports claim that Gargiulo is likely to be extradited to Illinois to face trial in the murder of 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio in 1993.
In 2001, When Ellerin's body was found, At least 47 stab wounds were spotted. She was getting ready to go on a date with Kutcher, who was then a budding actor, when Gargiulo barged inside her house and stabbed her. Kutcher had testified in the case on May 29, 2019, in a Los Angeles court.
The actor had testified that he was late to pick Ellerin up but had called her over the phone to explain the reason for his delay. But when he reached her house in Hollywood Hills, she did not answer his calls. Then, he had thought that he was stood up because he made her wait and had no clue that she was murdered by Garguilo.
Kutcher had added that he tried to look through the window and saw red liquid on the floor. He had assumed that it was spilled wine and thought that she had left the house in anger.
Gargiulo's Denial of Crimes
Moments before he was sentenced, Gargiulo had denied his involvement in these killings. He is said to have told the court that he was being unjustly sent to death row and blamed his attorneys for not allowing him to testify during his trial. "I'm innocent. I've been framed by tunnel-vision detectives," Gargiulo had told Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler.
Before awarding the sentence, Fidler told the court that he had read and considered a statement from the new District Attorney George Gascon. Reports state that Gascon had written that he did not believe the death penalty was an appropriate punishment in any case. However, the statement was not read in the open court.