Before Ashton Kutcher was a household name, he was just a 23-year-old dealing with girl troubles.
In 2001, Kutcher was dating a student named Ashley Ellerin. The two were "together" but not TOGETHER, in the sense that nothing was exclusive. Ellerin had tried to make plans with Kutcher one night but he turned her down on that occasion.
Later in the same evening, Ellerin asked Kutcher to make plans but he declined once again. He did, however, agree to plans later in the night at around 10:45pm.
Kutcher drove to Ellerin's house around 10:45, expecting a bit of a fight. Having already turned down his girlfriend twice in one day, he anticipated she might be a bit upset with him. When he showed up to the house, Kutcher knocked on the door and yelled out Ashley's name a couple times, but there was no answer. He says he looked in a window and saw a pool of what he believed to be red wine on the floor. Kutcher figured Ellerin was mad at him for not accepting her earlier invitations so he just left.
As it turns out, it wasn't red wine. It was blood.
Ellerin had been stabbed 35 times while getting ready for her date with Ashton.
"He slashed Ms. Ellerin's throat so violently [he] nearly decapitated her. After she was murdered her body was left [in a] demeaning pose that was sexual in nature," according to court documents.
So who did it? Who murdered Ashley Ellerin?
That would be serial killer Michael Gargiulo , also known as the 'Hollywood Ripper' is an air-conditioning technician who has other murder accusations to his name.
Gargiulo is accused of stabbing three women to death and attempting to murder a fourth.
He is a native of Glenview, Illinois, where he may have stabbed his neighbor, 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio, to death on her back door step. Her corpse was found by her father the morning after on August 14, 1993. She was stabbed 47 times. Gargiulo moved to Los Angeles in 1998, allegedly to escape scrutiny from police in Illinois.
Gargiulo is accused of three murders in Southern California between 2001 and 2008.
On February 21, 2001, he allegedly stabbed Ashley Ellerin 47 times to death in her home in Hollywood. Ellerin's injuries included a neck wound that nearly severed her head, and deep punctures to the chest, stomach, and back that in some cases were up to six inches deep. According to detective Tom Small, one stab wound "actually penetrated the skull and took out a chunk of skull like a puzzle piece."
On December 1, 2005, Gargiulo allegedly stabbed his neighbor, Maria Bruno, to death at her home in El Monte, California. She was stabbed 17 times.
On April 28, 2008, Gargiulo allegedly attempted to murder his neighbor, Michelle Murphy, in her home in Santa Monica on April 28, 2008. She fought off the attack, and blood matching Gargiulo's DNA was found at the scene.
Michael Gargiulo was charged with capital murder.
Gargiulo was being held at Los Angeles County Jail awaiting a capital murder trial. A pre-trial hearing was held June 9, 2017 in Los Angeles Superior Court with his trial scheduled to begin in October 2017. After delays, his trial began on May 2, 2019.
In May 2019 Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher testified about the crimes.
Ashton testified that he had met Ashley through a friend and he had gone to her house a few weeks before the Grammys to a housewarming party for her. He characterized his relationship with her as "an acquaintance," although he did say he had some interest in her.
Kutcher said the night of the Grammys was the first time he had thought he might pursue her in a dating relationship. He told the jury at around 7:30 PM he called her to say he was going to a friend's house to watch the show and then come to her home.
He said at 8:24 PM they talked and she said she had just gotten out of the shower and was going to blow dry her hair and they would meet up later and maybe go out to dinner. He called her at around 10 PM and believed he left a message saying it was getting late so they would not have dinner but just drinks.
Ashton says he went home, walked his dog and went to her place at around 10:45 PM. He knocked on her door but no one answered. He looked through a side window and saw what he thought was red wine spilled on the floor. So, he left.
The next morning Ashley was found dead in her home outside her bathroom, with more than 47 stab wounds, and authorities say Gargiulo was the murderer.
Ashton appeared in court wearing a blue suit and appeared relaxed on the stand.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Gargiulo, who has pled not guilty. In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon referred to Gargiulo as a brutal killer whose “hobby was plotting the perfect opportunity to attack women with a knife in and around their homes.”