Actor Ashton Kutcher is due in court soon to testify in the trial of alleged serial killer Michael Gargiulo. The 36-year-old actor rarely spoke about the violent stabbing death of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin in 2001 – but his previous testimony to police reveals shocking details of what he saw on the night of the murder.
Ashton, who recently became a father, will now have to revisit his past as he takes to court his testimony, and come face-to-face with his former girlfriend’s killer.
On 21st Feb 2001, Ashton had received a call from his new love interest Ashley Ellerin. The student, aspiring model and part-time stripper had tried to make a date with the then 23-year-old actor – but Ashton turned down the offer, saying that he would later come to visit her at her Hollywood bungalow – just behind the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
He later tried to call her twice during the evening but she had not picked up her phone.
Ashton drove to her apartment at 10:45pm in the hope of smoothing over what he thought was a looming argument, and found that the lights were on in her apartment and her car was parked outside. After knocking on the door and calling out to her with no answer, he looked through a window into the apartment and saw what he thought was red wine pooled on the floor. He thought she was angry at him for not making the earlier date and left.
Unbeknown to Ashton at the time, Ashley had been stabbed 35 times and was lying dead just beyond his view from the window. The red wine he had seen pooled on the floor was her blood.
Ashley’s body was found by her roommate, Justin Peterson.
His testimony will be crucial for prosecutors to prove the time of death and strengthen their case.
According to state court documents filed by the prosecution, Michael Gargiulo quite literally butchered her body – stabbing her multiple times, slitting her throat, slicing off her breasts, and staging her for family members and police to find. The prosecutors call him a serial, psycho-sexual thrill killer who engages in the systematic slaughter of beautiful women because he takes sexual pleasure from manipulating, stabbing and killing his victims.
Michael Gargiulo knew Ellerin and friends of hers say that he had taken an intense interest in her in the time before her murder. Now 38, he is facing trial for the murder of Ellerin and two other women – and the attempted murder of a fourth. He was arrested in 2008 after DNA evidence was recovered from the Santa Monica apartment of Michelle Murphy, who survived an alleged knife attack in April of that year.
Police say the evidence also links him to the fatal stabbing of a Monterey Park woman in 2005 and the 1993 killing of high school classmate Tricia Pacaccio in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, where Gargiulo lived at the time.
It’s no surprise why he has since been nicknamed the “Hollywood Ripper” and “Chiller Killer”.