A Los Angeles jury discovered a man responsible of fatally stabbing two girls — one in every of whom was actor Ashton Kutcher’s buddy — and making an attempt to kill a 3rd of their Southern California houses.
After three days of deliberations, in what has been dubbed the “Hollywood Ripper” trial, the jury on Thursday convicted 43-year-old Michael Gargiulo on Thursday of killing 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin in her Hollywood house in 2001. Ellerin was scheduled to fulfill Kutcher for drinks on the night time she died.
The actor testified on the trial that on the night time of the homicide, he had deliberate to select Ellerin up at her house to take her on a date however had known as her to say he was operating late. When he arrived and nobody answered the door, he assumed that she’d ventured out for the night time with out him. He testified that he peered within the window and noticed what he thought had been wine stains earlier than leaving.
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Ellerin, a style design pupil, was stabbed 47 occasions, and her physique was discovered by her roommate within the hallway exterior her rest room.
Gargiulo was additionally convicted of the 2005 homicide of a 32-year outdated, mom of 4, Maria Bruno, in her house in El Monte, an L.A. suburb.
Michael Gargiulo, left, and his legal professional, Daniel Nardoni, confer as responsible verdicts are learn in Los Angeles Superior Court docket on Thursday. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Occasions by way of AP, Pool)
Bruno, who lived in the identical residence complicated as Gargiulo, was stabbed dozens of occasions, her breasts had been lower off and her breast implants eliminated.
In each murders, little to no DNA or bodily proof existed linking Gargiulo to the crime, however he lived close to each victims on the time of every homicide. Additionally, the nature of the crimes was comparable, some extent prosecutors emphasised in drawing parallels between the 2 conditions.
Gargiulo, initially from Chicago, moved to Los Angeles within the late 1990s, intent on turning into an actor. He’s mentioned to have labored as an air-conditioner repairman and Hollywood nightclub bouncer across the time Ellerin and Bruno had been killed.
He was dubbed the “Boy Subsequent Door Killer” by prosecutors, who mentioned he dedicated crimes with comparable patterns of house invasion, stabbing and brutality.
The jury additionally discovered him responsible of the tried homicide of Michelle Murphy in 2008. Murphy was stabbed whereas in mattress at her Santa Monica residence however was in a position to combat again, inflicting the attacker to chop himself. A path of blood was linked to Gargiulo.
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“I do know that the proof is far stronger with Michelle Murphy, that is the elephant within the courtroom,” protection legal professional Daniel Nardoni mentioned at trial. “You must choose every case individually.”
Gargiulo was arrested after attacking Murphy and charged with the 2 California slayings. It was additionally at the moment that police linked him to the homicide of 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio in 1993. He’s being tried individually in Illinois in reference to Pacaccio’s homicide. She was reportedly his buddy’s older sister.
Prosecutors launched proof from Pacaccio’s case to show that Gargiulo was a serial killer.
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“These similarities level to at least one man, one killer: Michael Gargiulo,” Deputy District Lawyer Garrett Dameron mentioned throughout closing arguments.
Jurors additionally discovered Gargiulo responsible of a number of special-circumstance allegations, together with mendacity in wait and a number of murders, which make him eligible for the demise penalty or life in jail with out parole.
A last part of the trial is ready to begin Tuesday, when jurors will decide whether or not Gargiulo was sane on the time of the killings.
The Related Press contributed to this report