A suspected serial killer dubbed the “Hollywood Ripper,” thought to be responsible for preying on and killing a string of women, has been found guilty of killing two women and trying to kill a third.
Michael Gargiulo, 43, was found guilty Thursday on two charges of murder and one of attempted murder after a jury deliberating for three days, KTLA reports.
The air conditioner repairman, who prosecutors said used his job to gain access to victims, killed 22-year-old fashion student Ashley Ellerin in 2001 in her Hollywood home.
That very night, she was supposed to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher, whom she was dating at the time. He testified during the trial that he went Ellerin’s home that night and that the lights were on, but nobody answered the door.
“I knocked on the door. There was no answer. Knocked again. And once again, no answer,” he said in court, according to The Los Angeles Times. “At this point I pretty well assumed she had left for the night, and that I was late, and she was upset.”
He thought he could see red wine on the floor as he peered through a window, Newsweek reports. It turned out to be blood.
Ellerin had been stabbed 47 times.
Gargiulo then killed 32-year-old Maria Bruno in 2005, a mother of four who was stabbed several times, according to a San Bernardino Sun report from that time. He attempted to kill his neighbor Michelle Murphy in 2008 but she fought back and was able to escape.
Murphy was the key witness in the trial and helped get the killer arrested.
"He collected real-time intelligence on the victims and then manipulated the circumstances to provide himself with the perfect opportunity to pounce and kill in blitz-type knife attacks," Prosecutor Daniel Akemon said at the trial in May.
Gargiulo also faces charges in connection with the 1993 murder of Tricia Pacaccio in Illinois, according to a 2011 Chicago Tribune report. The high school graduate was reportedly stabbed 17 times.
Prosecutors say Gargiulo killed his victims for psychosexual gratification.
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