by Corinne Heller | Fri., Oct. 18, 2019 3:08 PM
UPDATE: 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. He will learn his fate at the sentencing on Feb. 28, 2020.
Accused serial killer Michael Gargiulo, aka "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.
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.
Kutcher testified a couple of months ago that the night before her murder, he had stopped to pick her up for a date and saw the lights were on 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.
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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.
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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 Thurs. Aug 15, 2019 at 11:14 a.m. PST.)