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Nearly three months after Ashton Kutcher testified at the trial of Michael Gargiulo, aka the “Hollywood Ripper,” the accused serial killer has been found guilty of attacking several young women with knives. According to People, a jury in Los Angeles delivered the verdict on Thursday, after deliberating for three days.
Gargiulo, 43, was convicted of murdering Ashley Ellerin, 22, and Maria Bruno, 32, and attempting to kill Michelle Murphy, 26, in Los Angeles between 2001 and 2008. He has also been charged in the 1993 fatal stabbing of Tricia Pacaccio, 18, the sister of one of his friends.
During his Los Angeles trial, prosecutors described him as a “serial sexual-thrill killer.”
In May, Kutcher recounted unknowingly coming across the grisly murder scene of his friend, Ashley Ellerin. The actor reportedly told the jury that he and Ellerin had dinner plans the night of February 21, 2001. They’d met the previous December, and decided to go out for a bite after discovering they were both single. When Kutcher knocked on the door of her Hollywood home around 10:30 p.m., no one answered. He tried to open the front door, but it was locked, so he peeked through a window.
“I saw what I thought was red wine spilled on the carpet,” Kutcher testified, “but that wasn’t alarming because I went to her house party [days before] and it was like a college party. I didn’t think much about it.”
Officials believe that by the time Kutcher arrived at Ellerin’s home, she had already been stabbed to death in the bathroom. Kutcher testified that he “just assumed she had gone out with her friend and bailed.”
During the trial, prosecutor Daniel Akemon said that all the women Gargiulo allegedly targeted were young, attractive, and lively. “He targeted them for murder and … attacked all of them with a knife,” Akemon reportedly told the jury. Gargiulo has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
According to CBS Los Angeles, Gargiulo could face the death penalty at his sentencing hearing.