24 October 2019 :
A Los Angeles County jury unanimously recommended the death penalty for Michael Gargiulo, the so-called “Hollywood Ripper.” Gargiulo, 43, White, was convicted in August for the murders of Ashley Ellerin, 22, in February 2001, Maria Bruno, 32, in 2005. He was also found guilty of the 2008 attempted murder of Michelle Murphy. The case gained media attention because actor Ashton Kutcher was called to testify about his date with Ellerin in 2001. Kutcher spoke to Ellerin the night she was murdered and tried to open a door at her Hollywood home when he came to get her for a late-night drink. Kutcher testified he looked through a window and saw red wine spilled on the floor; it was likely blood. Prosecutors described the former air conditioning repairman and father of two who was found guilty in August of the attacks as a “serial, psychosexual, thrill killer” who stalked and then viciously stabbed his unsuspecting victims — all young women who lived near him. After Ellerin’s death, Gargiulo moved to El Monte where he fatally stabbed his neighbor Maria Bruno, a mother of three, on Dec. 1, 2005. In 2008, he attacked Michelle Murphy, then 26, in her Santa Monica home. Prosecutors say Gargiulo killed his first victim when he was 17 and living in Illinois. Prosecutors described Gargiulo as “the boy next door” killer who methodically stalked and then attacked with a knife, often climbing through windows and stabbing his victims. Gargiulo began his spree in 1993 when he killed 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio, who was found dead outside her Glenview, Illinois, home in 1993. Gargiulo, who was 17 at the time of Pacaccio’s murder. After Gargiulo killed Pacaccio, he moved to Los Angeles, where ho killed Ellerin in 2001. After Ellerin’s death, Gargiulo moved to El Monte where he fatally stabbed his neighbor Maria Bruno on Dec. 1, 2005. On April 28, 2008, he attacked Michelle Murphy, then 26, in her Santa Monica home. Murphy was able to kick off her attacker, who cut himself during the confrontation and fled. Gargiulo's blood was found at the scene. Gargiulo was arrested by the Santa Monica Police Department on June 6, 2008. Gargiulo is scheduled to be sentenced Feb 28. Gargiulo also faces a murder charge in Illinois in the death of Pacaccio.