Jury reaches decision on sentence for 'Boy Next Door Killer'

Elias Hubbard
October 21, 2019

"Hollywood Ripper" Michael Gargiulo was sentenced to death after being found guilty of the murders of Ashton Kutcher's former girlfriend and a mom-of-four.

Michael Gargiulo - who is set to be formally sentenced February 28 - was convicted August 15 of two counts of first-degree murder for the February 22, 2001, slaying of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin in her Hollywood bungalow hours before she was set to go out with actor Ashton Kutcher, along with the December 1, 2005, killing of Maria Bruno, a 32-year-old mother of four young children, in her El Monte apartment.

During the fight, Gargiulo cut himself and left blood stains that helped connect evidence collected from other cases including previous two murders in LA and the IL killing case.

Gargiulo, 43, was found guilty in August of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder and attempted escape, according to a news release from the DA's office.

His defense team has argued that he should not get the death sentence, describing their client as a mentally ill man who suffered abuse while growing up.

A choose is about to condemn Michael Gargiulo on February 28. Jurors also could have recommended life in prison with no possibility of parole.

" You do not eliminate individuals that are mentally ill", Nardoni stated. Authorities said Gargiulo cut himself and left a trail of blood that allowed prosecutors to tie him to the other cases, including a 1997 killing in IL for which he is still awaiting trial. On the night of her murder, Ellerin had been due to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher, who testified at the trial. He is also the prime suspect for a murder in 2007 in IL for which he is still awaiting trial, reported the AP.

Gargiulo's 16-year-old son also testifies stating that his father should be excepted from the death penalty and expressed that he needed his parent.

The violent nature of the attacks earned Gargiulo the moniker "Hollywood Ripper".

Defense attorneys and a psychologist said in court that Gargiulo has dissociative personality disorder, previously called split personality condition.

Gargiulo at the time lived near Pacaccio's home in the Chicago area and was friends with her brother.

Ellerin's mother and other victims' family members also testified during the penalty phase.

He testified during the trial that he arrived late for his date with Ellerin, looked into her house when there was no answer at the door, and saw what he thought were wine stains before leaving.

The young woman's roommate discovered her dead the next morning.

Evidence was presented showing Gargiulo stabbed Ellerin with a knife 47 times, so viciously that her head was almost severed from her body.

"I ache for her", Cynthia Ellerin said.

The prosecutor said Gargiulo stabbed the 32-year-old woman 17 times, cut off her breasts, tried to remove her breast implants and placed one of her breasts on her mouth.

A blue surgical bootie found outside the apartment contained drops of her blood along with Gargiulo's DNA around the elastic band, and another blue surgical bootie appearing to be the same model was recovered from the attic of the El Monte apartment he had rented, according to Akemon.

He was also convicted of the 2008 attempted murder of Michelle Murphy in her Santa Monica apartment, who testified during the trial's penalty phase that she lived in fear for years after the attack.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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