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'Hollywood Ripper,' Whose Murder Trial Featured Testimony From Ashton Kutcher, Found Guilty

By Daniel Goldblatt

Michael Gargiulo was found guilty on Thursday of murdering two women and the attempted murder of another after a trial that included testimony from Ashton Kutcher.

Gargiulo, who was dubbed the "Hollywood Ripper," was charged with the murder of Ashley Ellerin in February 2001 and the December 2005 murder of Maria Bruno. Michelle Murphy survived being stabbed eight times in her apartment in Santa Monica back in April 2008.

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The case received added attention because of Kutcher's involvement. The "That ’70s Show" star testified that he had shown up to Ellerin's apartment on the night she was killed because the two were supposed to go out that night.

Kutcher said when he got to Ellerin's apartment, he saw what he believed to be red wine spilled on her carpet. He says he left when she didn't answer the door, assuming she had gone out for the night.

"I knocked on the door and there was no answer," Kutcher explained. "I knocked again, and once again, no answer. At this point, I pretty well assumed she had left for the night, and that I was late, and she was upset."

He testified that he found out about the murder the next day, saying, "I remember the next day after I heard about what happened, I went to the detectives and said, 'My fingerprints are on the door.' I was freaking out."

Ellerin's body was discovered by her roommate after being stabbed 47 times.

In the case of Maria Bruno, the prosecutor alleged that Gargiulo stabbed her 17 times, cut off her breasts, tried to remove her breast implants and placed one of her breasts on her mouth.

Gargiulo was arrested by Santa Monica police in June 2008 in connection with the attack on Michelle Murphy. He was subsequently charged for the murders of Ellerin and Bruno.

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