Guilty verdict in “Hollywood Ripper” trial in Los Angeles
The verdict in the “Hollywood Ripper” murder trial was read on Thursday with the jury finding Michael Gargiulo guilty of two murders and guilty of one attempted murder in California. Prosecutors accused 43-year-old Gargiulo of murdering three women – including 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who was friendly with Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher.
On Thursday, the jury unanimously found Gargiulo guilty of first degree murder in the murders of Ellerin and Maria Bruno. The jury also found Gargiulo guilty of the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy.
The details of Gargiulo’s murders are chilling. On the evening of Ellerin’s February 2001 killing, Kutcher went to her home to pick her up for a party but left after she didn’t answer the door.
Ellerin’s body was found the next morning outside her bathroom. She had been stabbed more than 47 times, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors also argued Gargiulo killed his neighbor while living in Illinois in 1993. The body of 17-year-old Tricia Pacaccio was found on her backdoor steps by her father.
After Gargiulo moved to Los Angeles, police said the former handyman and boxer found new victims. In 2005, prosecutors alleged he killed Bruno, a 32-year-old mother of four who lived in his apartment complex.
Pacaccio’s killing remained unsolved for over a decade until “48 Hours Mystery” aired a report on her case in 2011. Following the broadcast, two new witnesses came forward. Within weeks, Gargiulo was charged in connection with her 1993 death, as DNA evidence linked him to the case.
Gargiulo could face the death penalty in California now that he has been found guilty, but regardless of the final sentencing, the Pacaccios have told CBS News the Cook County state’s attorney intends to have Gargiulo immediately transferred back there to face murder charges in Illinois, some 26 years after Tricia’s death.
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