Michael Gargiulo, also known by the terrifying moniker of the Hollywood Ripper, was found guilty of murder, attempted murder and attempted escape on Thursday morning. The 43-year-old's trial was highlighted by testimony by That '70s Show star Ashton Kutcher due to the death of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin on a night in 2001 when she was set to go on a date with the actor.
The jury in Los Angeles was locked in deliberations for three on two charges of murder and another regarding attempted murder according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Along with the alleged murder of Ellerin, Gargiulo was also charged with the murder of 32-year-old Maria Bruno and the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy back in 2008. Murphy was a key witness in the trial and was able to fight off the attack and escape.
According to the LA Times, the accused was "stoic" as the verdict was read, only whispering to his attorney during the proceedings. The jury will return next week to discuss the insanity aspect of the guilty verdict.
The murders allegedly perpetrated by Gargiulo began back in 1993 when he killed his friend's older sister, Tricia Pacaccio, during the night she was celebrating her high school graduation.
Gargiulo was 17 during that murder and was eventually charged with the slaying in 2011, long after moving to Los Angeles. That's where the murder of Ellerin occurred, first meeting her to help change a flat tire and eventually showing up to her apartment "uninvited and unannounced" according to the LA Times. The prosecutors said that he entered her home, stabbed her 47 times, and slashed her throat to the point that "he almost decapitated her." Kutcher testified that he went to pick her up on the night she was killed, figuring he had screwed up after she wouldn't answer the door or his calls.
“I knocked on the door. There was no answer. Knocked again. And once again, no answer,” Kutcher said in court according to the LA Times. “At this point I pretty well assumed she had left for the night, and that I was late, and she was upset.”
The next slaying came in 2005 after moving into the same El Monte apartment complex as 32-year-old Bruno. Here he allegedly attacked her as she slept, "quit literally butchered her," and sliced off her breasts before placing one on her mouth.
His final attempted attack was three years later, with Murphy testifying in court about fighting her attacker off and hearing him speak for the first time to say "I'm sorry" as she ran from her bedroom.
The defense argued that Gargiulo was left in a fugue state due to a mental disorder and left him unable to recall his actions. He was also charged with trying to escape from jail in 2008.
Once his trial is complete in Los Angeles, he will likely be extradited to Illinois to face trial for the prior murders.
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