Ashton Kutcher appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday to testify against alleged serial killer Michael Gargiulo, who has been charged with killing two women, including Kutcher’s ex-girlfriend Ashley Ellerin.
In 2001, according to reporting from E! Online, Kutcher was casually dating 22-year-old Ellerin, a fashion student and exotic dancer. The pair had plans to go on a date on February 21 and spoke on the phone at 8:24 p.m. that night. Kutcher called Ellerin at 10 p.m. to tell her that he was running late, but she didn’t answer. When Kutcher knocked on her door at 10:45 p.m., Ellerin didn’t answer, though her car was in the driveway.
On Wednesday, Kutcher testified that he assumed Ellerin was standing him up because he was late. He said that he peered in the window of her rented bungalow in Hollywood and saw what he thought was a red wine stain on the floor, assuming it was from a house party Ellerin had thrown a few days earlier, which Kutcher had attended.
Gargiulo’s trial began earlier this month, with Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon saying that the police believe that what Kutcher saw was not red wine. “We believe now the evidence will show that was actually blood, and Ashley had already been murdered.”
Ellerin’s body was found the next morning around 9 a.m. by her roommate. She had been stabbed 47 times, with 12 of the blows considered fatal. Ellerin had defense wounds on her hands and forearm. She had fought back.
Kutcher testified on Wednesday that when the police approached him the day after Ellerin’s murder he “freaked out,” having tried to open Ellerin’s door, thus leaving his fingerprints on the crime scene. Defence attorney Daniel Nardoni told Kutcher this week, “Don’t worry, you’re not a suspect.”
Ellerin had reportedly met and befriended Gargiulo in the months before her death when he helped her fix a flat tire. He was often spotted sitting outside her home in his car in the following weeks.
The alleged serial killer is also on trial for the 2005 murder of 32-year-old Maria Bruno and the 2008 attempted murder of Michelle Murphy (Murphy was able to escape and identify Gargiulo). Once this trial concludes, Gargiulo is expected to be extradited to Chicago, where he’ll stand trial for the 1993 murder of 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio, whom Gargiulo allegedly murdered when he was 18.
Gargiulo was arrested in 2008 following his attempted murder of Murphy and has been awaiting trial since then. Dubbed the ‘Hollywood Ripper,’ 43-year-old Gargiulo, who has pled guilty on all counts, could face the death penalty if convicted.