The “Hollywood Ripper” was sentenced to death for murdering two women, including Ashton Kutcher’s girlfriend.

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A California judge formally ruled the death sentence a Michael Thomas Gargiulo, 45, nearly two years after a Los Angeles jury found him guilty of murdering two women and stabbing a third, who survived. Prosecutors called him the “killer neighbor” because he lived close to all of his victims and observed them before launching their attacks.

The media dubbed Gargiulo as “The Hollywood Ripper”For the Los Angeles-area murders of Ashley Ellerin, 22, on February 22, 2001, and Maria Bruno, 32, on December 1, 2005. Ellerin was preparing to go to the awards Grammy with the actor Ashton Kutcher when Gargiulo broke into her Hollywood home and stabbed her 47 times.

Bruno, a mother of four, was stabbed 17 times while sleeping and then mutilated in his apartment in El Monte.

The sentencing, delayed by procedural issues and the pandemic, came nearly two years after a jury convicted Gargiulo and recommended his execution.

The capture of the “killer neighbor”

Gargiulo was arrested after Michelle Murphy, then 26, repelled him when he attacked her in April 2008. Murphy was stabbed eight times in her Santa Monica apartment, but Gargiulo was also cut during the attack and left a trail of blood. Murphy was a key witness during the trial and spoke again the Friday before sentencing. “To this day, spending the night alone creates a world of fear in me,” she said. “How is it fair that the actions of one person can destroy the lives of so many?”

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The bond with Ashton Kutcher

Gargiulo’s case received increased attention because one of the victims was about to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher, who testified at trial.

Kutcher, star of the television comedies “That ’70s Show” and “Two and a Half Men,” testified during one instance of the Gargiulo trial, telling the jury that I had spoken to Ellerin on the phone about two hours earlier that he came to pick her up.

He said that when she did not respond to his knocking on the door, he looked out the window and saw what he thought was red wine on the floor and left, thinking that she had already left. Ellerin’s roommate found her body the next morning.

Gargiulo is now expected to be extradited to Illinois, where he has been charged with the August 14, 1993 murder of Tricia Pacaccio, of 18 years. Pacaccio, the sister of one of Gargiulo’s childhood friends, was stabbed to death in the front door of her home after a night out with friends. Gargiulo was charged with her death in 2011.

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