CRIME

Ashton Kutcher Expected To Testify Against Alleged 'Hollywood Ripper'

Accused serial killer Michael Gargiulo has been charged with murdering the actor's then-girlfriend, Ashley Ellerin, in 2001.

As the trial of alleged serial killer Michael Gargiulo, aka the “Hollywood Ripper,” begins, Ashton Kutcher is expected to take the stand to testify.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the actor is one of almost 250 potential witnesses in the case against Gargiulo, 43, who is accused of murdering an Illinois teenager and two California women in a cross-country crime spree from 1993 to 2008.

One of the victims was Kutcher’s girlfriend at the time, Ashley Ellerin, a 22-year-old fashion student and model, The Associated Press reported

On Feb. 21, 2001, the night of the Grammy Awards, Kutcher swung by her Hollywood Hills house to pick her up for the afterparty, but she never answered the door. He peered through the back window, noticing what he assumed was red wine spilled on her carpet; then he left. The following day, a friend found Ellerin’s body.

In 2010, LA Weekly reported that Kutcher’s testimony, if and when it arrived, would help determine the timing of Ellerin’s slaying.

Gargiulo’s suspected first victim, according to CBS News’ “48 Hours,” was 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio, who was living just outside Chicago in the suburban neighborhood of Glenview. Her father found her dead on the patio with multiple stab wounds in 1993. It wasn’t until 10 years later that investigators finally performed DNA testing on her fingernails, connecting her to Gargiulo.

However, just two years later, in 2005, he allegedly killed 32-year-old Maria Bruno in her El Monte, California, apartment, the AP reported.

Gargiulo, who worked as an air conditioning repairman and was the neighbor of each of his alleged victims, was labeled by a prosecutor as “the boy next door killer” during Thursday’s opening statements in Los Angeles Superior Court.

In 2008, Gargiulo allegedly assailed 27-year-old Michelle Murphy in Santa Monica, but she fought him off and managed to survive, The Washington Post said. Both Bruno and Murphy were attacked during the night while sleeping in their beds.

Gargiulo pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder and one count of attempted murder, all involving the California case, according to the AP. He faces a separate charge for Pacaccio’s killing.

In a 2011 statement to “48 Hours,” Gargiulo said he was “100 percent innocent” and had been “wrongfully charged.” 

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