"Hollywood Ripper" Sentenced to Death After Trial That Included Ashton Kutcher Testimony

Convicted serial killer Michael Gargiulo was accused of murdering three women, including 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who was dating Ashton Kutcher at the time.

By Corinne Heller, McKenna Aiello Jul 17, 2021 12:47 AMTags
Watch: Ashton Kutcher Testifies Against Suspected Serial Killer

UPDATE: Michael Gargiulo has been sentenced to death for committing a murderous crime spree that involved the death of a woman who dated Ashton Kutcher

According to a sentencing memorandum obtained by E! News on July 16, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler ruled Gargiulo, who earned the nickname "Hollywood Ripper," will be put to death at San Quentin State Prison for the murders of Maria Bruno and Ashley Ellerin

A separate document obtained by E! News shows the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office denied the defense's motion to a new trial. 

According to NBC Los Angeles, Gargiulo told the judge at today's hearing, "I'm innocent. I've been framed by tunnel-vision detectives." Gargiulo's attorney declined to comment when contacted by E! News, citing the case's appeals process.

Learn more about the chilling case, and Kutcher's involvement in the trial, by scrolling below. 


UPDATE on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019:  A jury has recommended that Michael Gargiulo be sentenced to death for murdering two women and attempting to murder another one, a decision that they came to in a mere seven hours. 


Accused serial killer Michael Gargiulo, also known as the "Hollywood Ripper," has been found guilty of the murder of two women, including one who was dating Ashton Kutcher at the time, and the attempted murder of another one.

Craziest True Crime TV Moments

The verdict was handed down at Los Angeles court on Thursday, NBC Los Angeles reported, more than two months after the actor testified against the 43-year-old defendant. The sentence has yet to be announced and prosecutors are seeing a death penalty.

Garguilo's trial began in May. He had pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and an attempted-murder stemming from attacks in the Los Angeles area between 2001 and 2008, the year he was arrested.

One of his victims, 22-year-old fashion student and stripper Ashley Ellerin, was found dead in 2001 in her Hollywood Hills home. Prosecutors say Gargiulo stabbed her 47 times.

Getty Images; Shutterstock

Kutcher testified that the night before her murder, he had stopped to pick her up for a date and noticed the lights were on insider her home but that she did not answer the door. He saw through a window what he thought were red wine stains on a carpet carpeted stairway. He said he then left, thinking she had already gone out with a friend. The following morning, Ellerin's roommate discovered her body and Kutcher learned what happened to her. He spoke to police and said he was "freaking out" because he knew his fingerprints would be on the home's front door.

The actor's testimony marked his first public comments about Ellerin's killing.

Gargiulo is believed to have stalked young women who lived near him for 15 years. He allegedly sometimes used his job as an air-conditioning repairman to gain entry into their homes. 


In addition to Ellerin, he is accused of fatally stabbing 32-year-old Maria Bruno in her bed inside her apartment in El Monte, California and mutilating her body in 2005, and also stabbing another woman, Michelle Murphy, 26, eight times in her Santa Monica apartment in 2008. She survived.

Gargiulo had told CBS' 48 Hours in 2011," when asked about the California attacks, "I'm 100 percent innocent." 

Gargiulo is also expected to stand trial over the 1993 fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio, the sister of one of his friends, outside her family's home near Chicago. Gargiulo's attorney had told the jury at the Los Angeles trial that his client denies killing all three women.

(This story was originally published on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 at 11:14 a.m. PST.)

For more true crime updates on your need-to-know cases, head to Oxygen.com.