Ashton Kutcher appeared in a full courtroom in Los Angeles on Wednesday to relive the horrible night where his friend Ashley Ellen was butchered.
He appeared calm and gathered in the dock at the trial of the accused & # 39; Hollywood Ripper & # 39 ;, Michael Thomas Gargiulo – who according to the police brutally stabbed Ellerin nearly 50 times – Kutcher, told the jury how he night & # 39; ruined & # 39; had, February 21, 2001, by appearing more than two hours late for a date with Ellerin.
And Kutcher, 41 – sporting a mustache and wearing a blue suit and shirt with a dark tie – admitted that the next day, after hearing about the brutal murder of 22-year-old Ellerin, & # 39; # 39; because his fingerprints were on the front doorknob in her apartment and he was afraid he would be a suspect in killing.
Like an expressionless Gargiulo – in purple shirt and dark trousers and with a shaved head and goatee – Kutcher looked back at how he got an & # 39; introduction & # 39; had become Ellerin, a model and student at the Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design and merchandising.
Ashton Kutcher took the stand on Wednesday to testify in the Hollywood Ripper trial, accused of stabbing his friend Ashley Ellerin 47 times in 2001
Michael Gargiulo faces two graves of murder and one of attempted murder and is called the Hollywood Ripper
One of the alleged victims of Gargiulo is Ashley Ellerin who was stabbed to death in her Hollywood Hills house in 2001 at the age of 22. She planned to date with Ashton Kutcher at the time of her death
Kutcher – at that time 23 and starring in his first TV hit, That 70s Show – said he first met Ellerin at a birthday party in December 2000 and because he was out with someone else at the time, he introduced her for a friend of his.
Then, in early February, he went to a housewarming party at Ellerin's Hollywood home behind the famous Grauman Chinese theater.
Because Kutcher had recently broken up with his girlfriend at the time, he became closer friends with Ellerin and the two made arrangements to go out on a date on February 21, 2001 – the evening of the Grammy Awards.
He called her that day between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and & # 39; we made plans to go out for dinner and drink that night & # 39; at 8 o'clock.
He called her again at 7.30 p.m. to say he would be late because he stopped by his friend Christie Swanson's house to watch the Grammy Awards on TV.
Ellerin called him that night at 8.24, told him she had just come out of the shower and blown her dry.
& # 39; I told her I would be a little later and she said: & # 39; I'll see you later. & # 39; & # 39;
Kutcher told the court that after he had forgotten the time, he tried to call Ellerin back to tell her he was late.
& # 39; But there was no answer, & # 39; he said.
He went home to walk his dogs and then called Ellerin again to say he was on his way.
& # 39; Again, no answer & # 39 ;, he told Judge Larry Fidler in the Superior Court of LA.
Kutcher drove the five blocks from his house to Ashley, arrived between 10.30 p.m. and 10.45 p.m. and found her red BMW convertible parked outside and noticed that & # 39; all the lights were on & # 39 ;.
& # 39; I knocked on the door, no answer. I knocked again, no answer. I looked through the window at the front door and saw nothing. I tried the button on the front door and it was locked. & # 39;
He looked through a side window & # 39; because I thought it was weird that the lights were on. It looks like it was a bit of a mess, but I didn't expect anything, because she had just arrived.
& # 39; Then I saw what I thought was red wine spilled on the carpet. I was not alarmed because I had just been to the house heating party in her house and that was a sort of college party. & # 39;
After he had seen no one inside and received no response to his door knock, Kutcher left. He said he assumed Ashley went out with a friend because she was angry because he was so late.
& # 39; I thought I'd messed up – I turned up late & # 39 ;, he told the jury.
Under a cross-examination of lawyer Nn Noni, Kutcher said he did not remember seeing Gargiulo among 30-40 people at Ashley & # 39; s housewarming party two weeks before her murder.
And he added that Ashley had not told him that they had & # 39; problems or problems & # 39; had with other people.
Kutcher ended his almost an hour of testimony and told the court that the next day when he heard about Ashley & # 39; s murder, he went to the police to tell them that he had spent the night of her murder outside her house.
& # 39; I went to her door, my fingerprints lay on the door & he said. I was fluttering. & # 39;
Ashley & # 39; s roommate found her horribly mutilated body in the apartment the next day.
The stain that Kutcher thought red wine was actually blood from the 47 gaping wounds – some six inches deep – was inflicted on her neck, chest, stomach, and back by a knife intruder.
Kutcher seemed calm when he took the position and told the night almost twenty years ago
Michael Gargiulo, 43, is accused of killing two women, including Ellerin, and is trying to kill another in the Los Angeles area between 2001 and 2008.
He was accused separately of killing an 18-year-old Illinois woman whose father had stabbed her fatally in front of their family's door with her house key still in hand.
Gargiulo was a neighbor of every victim at the time of the attacks.
Earlier this month, Gargiulo's lawyer, Dan Nardoni, repeatedly tried to discredit the indictment during opening statements by telling jury members that other men had better access or motives for the murders.
He said Ellerin had sex with her apartment manager a few hours before Kutcher was scheduled to pick her up from her Hollywood apartment.
When detectives interviewed the apartment's manager, Mark Durban, after the murder, Nardoni said: "He claimed that he had had sex with Ashley earlier in the evening."
Durban left Ellerin's apartment around 8.15 am and Kutcher showed up to pick her up around 10.45 am, the defense lawyer said.
Kutcher said earlier that when Ellerin didn't answer her door, he left, not realizing that her horribly mutilated body was in it.
Pardon tried to question the prosecutor's case and said there was no sign of forced entry to Ellerin's apartment, meaning she knew her murderer and let him in or someone unlocked the door.
The defense lawyer said that only four people had the keys to the apartment: Ellerin, her roommate, her former roommate and Durban. He said the apartment manager & # 39; in this case & # 39; would be an important witness & # 39 ;.
Nardoni insisted that there is no physical evidence in the Ellerin murder related to Gargiulo.
& # 39; No fingerprints are recognizable by Mr. Gargiulo. Of the body of Ashley Ellerin there is no DNA identifiable for Mr. Gargiulo, & he said.
He also argued that there is no physical evidence against his client in the murder of Maria Bruno on December 1, 2005 – another woman he accuses of murder.
This map shows the map of Ellerin & # 39; s Hollywood Hills bungalow where she was murdered. It shows where her body was stabbed to death
& # 39; There is no DNA from Maria Bruno's body that is identifiable with Michael Gargiulo. There is no DNA from the window (where the killer entered the apartment), there are no fingerprints from the window, & Nardoni told the jury members.
The lawyer explained why Bruno had left her husband, Irving Bruno, and lived alone when she was killed. He said it was because she was physically abused in their relationship for nine years.
An argument that led the man from Bruno & # 39; pushed her, threw her to the floor and slapped her in the face & # 39; was the & # 39; last drop & # 39; so she left him.
Nardoni said that Irving told investigators that sometimes when he abused his wife he would & # 39; darken & # 39; and not remembering that he had hit her.
Gargiulo lived a & # 39; double life & # 39 ;, heard the court. He attacked and killed women and he could go unnoticed for nearly 15 years, & said assistant district attorney
Nardoni tried to further discredit the prosecution and told the court that when detectives showed photos of Gargiulo and four other possible suspects in Bruno's murder of another resident in her apartment complex, that person Gargiulo not identified.
After Gargiulo was arrested in 2008 after the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy, he was put in a cell for almost two days with two other prisoners, who were actually undercover murder investigators.
& # 39; It was an excuse to let him confess that he had killed these women & # 39 ;, Nardoni told the jury.
& # 39; It was a 42-hour interrogation and I can assure you that during those 42 hours, Mr. Gargiulo did not admit that he killed any of these women. & # 39;
During the opening statement of the public prosecutor on Thursday, the jury heard how Gargiuo & # 39; his victims would & # 39; Seeing, shading, stalking, and rushing before he would stab them fatally for sexual pleasure.
Public Prosecutor Daniel Akemon called the suspect & # 39; the neighbor boy & # 39; and described his crimes as & # 39; the methodical and systematic slaughter of women & # 39 ;.
& # 39; What you will hear is that Michael Gargiulo has been watching for almost 15 years and is always watching, & # 39; he said. & # 39; And his hobby was setting the perfect opportunity to attack women with a knife in and around their homes. & # 39;
Gargiulo – dressed in a purple shirt, with his head shaved and sporting a goatee goose and Versace glasses – occasionally whispered to his defense lawyer as he listened to the prosecutor's opening statement detailing the charges against him he is not guilty of argued.
Gargiulo lived a & # 39; double life & # 39 ;, heard the court. On the one hand, he was a husband and a father. On the other hand: & he attacked and killed women and he could go unnoticed for nearly 15 years & # 39 ;, said Akemon.
Gargiulo is thought to have killed up to 10 women, including Maria Bruno, 32, (right) in 2005 and 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio in 1993 (left)
This map shows that Gargiulo and the Pacaccio victim lived only 550 feet apart in 1993 when she was killed
& # 39; He would identify a target that lives next to him. Then he would hunt them down and slaughter them. He looked and waited, then he struck and killed them with blitz-like knife attacks, & said Akeman.
Prosecutors say that Gargiulo moved to Los Angeles in 2001 and focused on Ellerin, a model and student who lived in Hollywood.
Gargiulo & # 39; injected himself & # 39; in Ashley & # 39; s life, changed a bond for her and founded her oven, Akemon said. & # 39; He told a party at her home and fixed it on her. Somehow he got a copy of a key to her apartment and let himself in … and then ran away. & # 39;
Ellerin & # 39; s friends warned her that Gargiulo was chasing her, popping up at her home at strange times and looking at her. And on the night of February 21, 2001, the greatest fears of her friends were realized.
Akemon noted that Ellerin was being attacked from behind and her throat was cut from left to right, indicating that her killer was left-handed. Gargiulo is left-handed.
A map with the distance of 400ft between Gargiulo and Ellerin is presented as evidence during opening statements during his murder trial
Gargiulo moved to Los Angeles in 2001 and founded 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, a model and student who lived in Hollywood and had a relationship with TV star Ashton Kutcher. He & # 39; injected himself & # 39; in Ashley & # 39; s life, a tire changed for her and repaired her oven, Akemon said. & # 39; He told a party at her home and fixed it on her. Somehow he got a copy of a key from her apartment and let himself in … and then ran away & # 39;
Another victim in the case, 32-year-old Maria Bruno, was stabbed to death in her apartment in the suburb of El Monte in 2005.
& # 39; Gargiulo could see Maria's apartment herself, & # 39; Akemon said to the court. On the night of her murder, he entered her apartment through a window, put on blue surgical bootees, and stabbed Maria while she slept.
& # 39; He cut off her breasts and tried to move her breast implants and put one of her breasts in her mouth. & # 39;
Bruno & # 39; s lifeless body was found by her estranged husband.
Akemon said that Gargiulo's DNA was found on one of the blue bootees found at the crime scene and a matching bootee was found in his apartment.
The former repairer of heating and air conditioning – by people who knew him – & # 39; Mike the Furnace Man & # 39; – is also accused of the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy in 2008, who, although she was stabbed several times to her home in Santa Monica, bravely fought and survived the attack.
They are expected to be the star of the persecution during the Gargiulo trial, which could last six months.
It was the unsuccessful murder attempt on Murphy in April 2008 that ended what the police claim was a 15-year massacre of Chicago-born Gargiulo.
Gargiulo was free to roam until 2008 when he allegedly attacked Michelle Murphy, who fought him and survived after being stabbed 17 times
Tricia Pacaccio & # 39; s body is brought home in 1993 in Chicago, Illinois. Gargiulo was a friend of her two brothers
DNA evidence collected in Murphy's apartment not only led to his arrest in June 2008 for his alleged attack on her, but also linked him to the murders of Ellerin and Bruno, prosecutors say. He was charged two months later for those murders
Police also claim that those DNA traces from the Murphy crime scene also detained Gargiulo from the 1993 Pacaccio murder.
The teenager who was killed in Illinois lived further down the Gargiulo Street in Glenview in the suburbs.
Gargiulo was a close friend of Pacaccio & # 39; s brother and investigators had long suspected him of the murder. But they could never gather enough evidence to charge him with Pacaccio & # 39; s murder – until the attack on Murphy 15 years later.
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