The Hollywood Ripper: Has this famous serial killer finally been sentenced?
The Hollywood Ripper, Michael Thomas Gargiulo, has been sentenced to the death penalty on Friday. Gargiulo has been charged with the murders of two women and one attempted murder. In 2019, the serial killer became famous for reportedly killing Ashley Ellerin in 2001 who was connected to actor Ashton Kutcher.
The Los Angeles serial killer was a bouncer & repairman who would hide under the guise of helping women with repairs before viciously stabbing them to death. Gargiulo, who’s now forty-five years old with two kids, has been sentenced to death row at San Quentin State Prison.
The murder of Ashley Ellerin in 2001
On February 21st, 2001, Gargiulo stabbed twenty-two year old Ashley Ellerin forty-seven times. The young victim’s wounds were extensive & gruesome including a neck wound that nearly decapitated the young woman and stab wounds on her chest, head, and back up to six inches deep.
Gargiulo had met Ellerin outside her Los Angeles home when he asked if she needed help with a flat tire. He had lived less than a block away from the victim. Her friends revealed that after their initial meeting, Gargiulo would show up to her home uninvited and would even be seen parked outside her home at random hours.
On the night Ashley Ellerin was brutally murdered, she had planned to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher had even gone to her home to check on Ellerin because she never showed up to their date. He was unaware that Ellerin’s body was inside.
Later in his testimony, Kutcher revealed that he had looked in the window and thought he saw spilled wine. During the trial in 2019, Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon told the jury, “Mr. Kutcher looked in the window and saw what he thought was spilled wine on the floor. We believe now the evidence will show that it was actually blood, and Ashley had already been murdered.”
Gargiulo’s crimes in 2005 & 2008
After murdering Ashley Ellerin, Michael Gargiulo moved to a gated apartment complex in El Monte. On December 1st, 2005, he stabbed his neighbor Maria Bruno seventeen times. Maria Bruno was thirty-two years old.
In 2008, Gargiulo broke into the home of his neighbor Michelle Murphy while she was asleep. Murphy woke up as Gargiulo stabbed her in the arm but fought him off and wounded him before he fled the scene. Twenty-six year old Michelle Murphy survived the attack and Gargiulo’s DNA was found on Murphy’s bloody bed sheets.
Serial killer also murdered in 1993
Gargiulo’s DNA has also been linked to a murder in his hometown of Glenview, Illinois. In 1993, eighteen year old Tricia Pacaccio was stabbed numerous times to death on her back door step. She had apparently spent the night out with friends before being killed at her home. Her body was found by her father the next morning on August 14th, 1993.
Tricia Pacaccio lived just around the corner from Gargiulo. She was also apparently the sister of one of Michael Gargiulo’s friends. After this murder, Gargiulo moved to Los Angeles, California in 1998 where he will later murder two more women.
The Hollywood Ripper charged in 2019
The famous serial killer was arrested by the Santa Monica police on June 6th, 2008. After his DNA was found at the scene of his attempted murder and linked to the DNA found under Pacaccio’s fingernails, he was charged with first-degree murder by Cook County police in 2011.
Gargiulo was then titled “The Hollywood Ripper” by the media as he was awaiting trial in Los Angeles. After numerous delays, Gargiulo’s trial began on May 2nd, 2019 where Ashton Kutcher testified his account of Ashley Ellerin’s death.
As the family of the victims awaited the hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler sentenced Gargiulo to death on July 16th, 2021. Authorities are still uncertain if Ellerin, Pacaccio, and Bruno were the only victims of Gargiulo.
Have you heard about this famous serial killer before? What other famous serial killers have you learned through your favorite true crime shows? Let us know in the comments below.