Jury Recommends Death Penalty To Ashton Kutcher's Friend Killer

Los Angeles – A jury on Friday recommended the death penalty for Michael Gargiulo, the so-called "Hollywood Ripper" and found guilty of killing two women, one of them actress, model and friend of actor Ashton Kutcher, and wounding a third victim.

Gargiulo, 43, faces capital punishment after being found last August guilty of the murder of Ashley Ellerin, 22, Maria Bruno, 32, and trying to kill Michelle Murphy, 26, in a series of attacks in Los Angeles between 2001 and 2008.

At the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Garrett Dameron described Gargiulo as an "intelligent predator," able to discern the rules of society and make it appear that he lived within them, "even when he entered homes at night to threaten, mistreat and kill women. "


Ellerin, the defendant's first victim, was friends with Kutcher and the night she was killed she had stayed with the actor to go to a party together.

Last June, the actor declared in an audience that on February 22, 2001 he went to the girl's house in Hollywood, and knocked on the door several times but she never answered. He supposed the woman was upset because he was late for the appointment.

Before leaving, Kutcher looked out a window and saw some stains on the carpet that looked like spilled red wine, and he paid no attention because one week there was a party at his friend's house.

Ellerin's lifeless body was found the next morning with 47 stabs and practically beheaded, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

Kutcher, known for his work in the television comedies "That 70's Show" and "Two and a Half Men," said that when he learned about the fact he spoke with the police since his fingerprints were on the door of the house.

In December 2005, Gargiulo murdered María Bruno. The victim had 17 knife wounds and the breast implants had been removed.

Years later, in April 2008, Michelle Murphy received 8 stabs from the defendant in her home in Santa Monica, but faced the attacker, survived and became a key piece to arrest and accuse Gargiulo.

That same year he was arrested and then linked with the other two murders for the DNA traces found in the victims.

Gargiulo's defense argued that the man suffers from psychological problems and tried to convince the jury to lean on life imprisonment. He claimed that it was inhuman to execute a person suffering from a mental illness.

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

He will face a separate trial in Illinois for the murder in August 1993 of Tricia Pacaccio, 18, and sister of one of his friends.