‘Hollywood Ripper’ Sentenced To Death

'Hollywood Ripper' Sentenced To Death
In this file photo taken on August 6, 2019, Michael Gargiulo, 43, also known as the Hollywood Ripper, listens during closing statements in his capital murder trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Lucy Nicholson / POOL / AFP

 

 

A man known as the “Hollywood Ripper” was sentenced to death Friday for the gruesome killings of two women in their homes in the early 2000s.

Michael Gargiulo, 45, was convicted in 2019 of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Among his victims was 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who was found in her Hollywood home with 47 stab wounds in February 2001. On the night of her murder, Ellerin had been due to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher, who testified at the trial.

The second murder victim was Maria Bruno, a 32-year-old mother of four and neighbor of Gargiulo who was attacked in her sleep in December 2005 and “quite literally butchered,” prosecutors said.

“In this case, everywhere that Mr. Gargiulo went, death and destruction followed,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said Friday as he announced the sentence.

Prosecutor Dan Akemon said Gargiulo targeted women who lived near him and waited for the perfect opportunity to attack them at night in or near their homes in “totally planned killings.”

Gargiulo again insisted he was innocent at Friday’s sentencing session.

He was arrested in 2008 following an attack on a woman in her apartment in Santa Monica, near Los Angeles. She survived and testified at the trial.

Gargiulo also faces murder charges in Illinois stemming from an attack in 1993.

But Gargiulo will not be executed, at least not for now. California is famously liberal and Democratic and Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on executions in 2019.

Prior to that, the death penalty was last carried out in California in 2006, when it was halted by a federal court order.

AFP

‘Hollywood Ripper’ Found Guilty Of Two Murders Including Kutcher Date

Michael Gargiulo listens during closing statements in his capital murder trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, August 6, 2019. Gargiulo, also known as the “Hollywood Ripper,” is charged with murders in 2001 and 2005 and suspected to have committed as many as 10 more.

 

A man dubbed the “Hollywood Ripper” was found guilty Thursday of the murders of two women, including a student who was due to go out with actor Ashton Kutcher the night of her death.

Michael Gargiulo, 43, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder by a Los Angeles jury who deliberated for four days before reaching their verdict.

Prosecutor Dan Akemon had told jurors that Gargiulo targeted the women in “frenzied knife attacks,” referring to him as a “stone-cold serial killer who preys on women.”

Gargiulo’s lawyers said he denied the killings.

They said there was no evidence Gargiulo was at the scene of the two murders, and indicated that his dissociative identity disorder could have caused him to go into a “fugue” state during a separate attack on a third woman who survived.

The trial will move next week to a second phase to assess if Gargiulo was sane at the time of the killings, before sentencing then takes place.

Gargiulo could face the death penalty.

He is also awaiting a separate trial for the earlier 1993 killing of a third woman in the state of Illinois.

Prosecutor Akemon said Gargiulo targeted women who lived near him and waited for the perfect opportunity to attack them at night in or near their homes in “totally planned killings.”

The murdered women had injuries to their breasts, and one was found nearly decapitated, he said.

“Two and a Half Men” actor Kutcher told jurors he had gone to victim Ashley Ellerin’s home in Hollywood in 2001 to pick her up for a date, but had arrived late and nobody had answered the door.

He said he had looked through a window and seen what he thought was red wine spilled on the floor before leaving, assuming she had already gone out.

Kutcher said he and Ellerin, a 22-year-old fashion design student, were acquaintances.

The second victim, 32-year-old Maria Bruno, was killed in her Los Angeles area apartment in 2005.

Gargiulo was arrested in Santa Monica in 2008 following an attack on another woman who survived being stabbed eight times in her home.

He was also found guilty of attempted murder for that case Thursday.