Michael Gargiulo, the so-called “Hollywood Ripper,” was found guilty on all counts, including murder and attempted murder, in a Los Angeles court on Thursday. According to prosecutors, Gargiulo, once an air-conditioner repairman, preyed on his female neighbors as a “serial sexual-thrill killer.” His victims were all young, attractive, and outgoing women, according to prosecutors.
One victim, 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, was attacked and killed by Gargiulo in 2001, the day she was set to go with actor Ashton Kutcher to a Grammy Awards after-party. Kutcher testified that when he came to pick her up no one answered the door. Eight years later, with Ellerin’s case and the similar murder of 32-year-old Maria Bruno still unsolved, another young female was violently attacked in her home.
Michelle Murphy, then 26, woke up with a man straddling her in bed, stabbing her in the chest, shoulder and arm. Murphy was miraculously able to fight off her attacker, and later was a key witness against Gargiulo in court. Prosecutors had little physical evidence tying him to the crime scenes, but urged jurors to consider the similar pattern of the attacks and Gargiulo’s proximity to each murder. He reportedly showed no emotion when the guilty verdict was read.