Hollywood Ripper Trial: Michael Gargiulo Alleged Horrific Mutilation Homicides
Prosecutors say Michael Gargiulo would identify targets who lived near him, acquaint himself with their habits and routines, and stalk them as part of his plan to kill them. CBSLA Kara Finnstrom reports.
Opening statements have begun in the Los Angeles murder trial of Michael Gargiulo, an air conditioning repairman and former Glenbrook South High School student, charged with the stabbing deaths of two California women and Glenview teenager Tricia Pacaccio.
Michael Gargiulo’s trial began Thursday, May 2, 2019 with prosecutors presenting the California cases for jurors.
Michael Gargiulo, age 43, has pleaded not-guilty to two counts of murder and an attempted-murder charge stemming from attacks in the Los Angeles area between 2001 and 2008, including the death of actor Ashton Kutcher’s former girlfriend, 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin.
Ashley Ellerin didn’t answer her door when her date, actor Ashton Kutcher, arrived to her home to pick her up in 2001. Kutcher saw what he thought were wine stains on the floor of her residence when he looked in a window. He left her residence thinking he was stood up. The wine stains were actually blood stains.
In 2008, Gargiulo, now known as the ‘Hollywood Ripper’ was charged with the 2005 brutal slaying of 32-year-old Maria Bruno in El Monte, California, and the brutal homicide of Ashley Ellerin in 2001 in Hollywood Hills. He was also charged with a 2008 attack against a woman in her Santa Monica home.
Gargiulo was arrested in 2008 after DNA evidence linked him to the killings. He was subsequently separately charged with killing 18-year-old Glenbrook South High School graduate Tricia Pacaccio of Glenview, Illinois; but not until 2011. She was fatally stabbed in the chest as she arrived home from a night out, one week before she was set to attend Purdue University. Her father found her with multiple stab wounds on their family’s doorstep. Her house key was still in her hand. Pacaccio’s murder occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, August 14, 1993 or just before midnight Friday, August 13, 1993. Glenview police and the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department investigated the case.
Michael Gargiulo, a teen who also attended Glenbrook South High School, was questioned after the 1993 homicide, and DNA samples were also obtained, but Gargiulo was not charged because the DNA obtained from Pacaccio’s fingernails could not be ruled out as present from mere casual contact because of the procedure used to collect and test the DNA. Gargiulo later moved to California. Gargiulo.
In May 2011, CBS “48 Hours” broadcast “The Boy Next Door,” which detailed the alleged crimes of Michael Gargiulo.
The Sunday morning after the broadcast, television producer Doug Longhini forwarded a viewer email with a tip that was received to Lou Sala, a detective with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department and the lead investigator on the Tricia Pacaccio case. The email from the viewer reported that Gargiulo bragged about murdering a girl in the Chicago area. On July 7, 2011, Gargiulo was indicted for the 1993 murder of Tricia Pacaccio in his hometown of Glenview, Illinois.
Tricia Pacaccio’s family is determined to also have Gargiulo tried in Cook County court.
Executive Trial Producer Cathy Russon reports from the Hollywood Ripper Trial in Los Angeles County.
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Prosecutors have called Michael Gargiulo a “serial sexual-thrill killer” who derived pleasure from slaughtering beautiful women. They will seek the death penalty in a trial that’s set to start this week. https://t.co/l3gXTs7S6C
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 1, 2019
#HollywoodRipper – Pros opening. In 2005 #MichaelGargiulo lived near 32 year old Maria Bruno. He stabbed her multiple times, he cut off her breasts, attempted to remove her implants and stuffed one of her breasts in her mouth. pic.twitter.com/jpS7WFIcNB
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) May 2, 2019
#AshtonKutcher on witness list. But today crews set up for opening statements. Prosecutor may go 2 hours?? Defense this afternoon. Alleged serial slasher Michael Gargiulo on trial. One of his victims was ex-girlfriend of Kutcher.@ABC7Courts pic.twitter.com/r8b41Uqrya
— Miriam Hernandez (@abc7miriam) May 2, 2019
See also …
Reader’s Digest | Who Murdered Our Daughter?