Michael Gargiulo sits in court during his murder trial in Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Michael Gargiulo sits in court during his murder trial in Los Angeles in 2019.
  • Michael Gargiulo, 45, was sentenced to death in California for murdering two women.
  • Ashton Kutcher had been dating one of the victims and testified at Gargiulo's trial in 2019.
  • The killer is also awaiting trial for a third murder in Illinois.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Michael Gargiulo, known as the "Hollywood Ripper," has been sentenced to death over the murders of two women, including one Ashton Kutcher was dating.

In 2019 Gargiulo was convicted of murdering Ashley Ellerin, 22, in Hollywood in 2001, and Maria Bruno, 32, in 2005 after stabbing them to death in their Southern California homes.

In 2008, he also attempted to kill Michelle Murphy in Santa Monica, then 26 but was caught through DNA samples collected after fighting him off.

The case captured media attention after it was revealed that victim Ashley Ellerin was supposed to meet actor Ashton Kutcher for a date the night she was killed.

Ashton Kutcher testifies during the trial of alleged serial killer Michael Gargiulo, known as the “Hollywood Ripper,” at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on May 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Gargiulo is facing murder charges, including the February 21, 2001 stabbing death of Kutcher’s friend Ashley Ellerin. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Ashton Kutcher testifies during the trial of killer Michael Gargiulo.
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

During Gargiulo's trial, Kutcher testified that he went to pick Ellerin up on the night of February 22, 2001, but when he arrived, no one answered the door. The actor said he assumed his date had gone out after he had turned up late.

He added that he looked through the window and saw what he thought was red wine spilled on the carpet.

Ellerin was found dead the next day with 47 stab wounds.

Prosecutors said Gargiulo would gain access to women's homes by posing as a friendly neighbor or handyman, according to CNN.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler handed down Gargiulo's death sentence on Friday and denied his request for a new trial.

"In this case, everywhere that Mr Gargiulo went, death and destruction followed," Fidler said.

Despite the sentence, it is unlikely that Gargiulo will be put to death in the near future. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has halted executions while he is in office and the state has not executed anyone since 2006.

Gargiulo is now expected to stand trial in Illinois for a separate murder charge over the killing of Tricia Pacaccio, 18, in 1993.

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