Actor Ashton Kutcher is due on the stand in the next couple of months. He’ll be testifying against Michael Thomas Gargiulo in the murder of then 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin.
The student, part-time stripper, and aspiring model had just recently broken up with her boyfriend and was known to be playing the field. AN LAPD officer told LA Weekly, “She had tons of boyfriends. At that time, Kutcher was still coming up.... It was a friendly thing. They went out a couple of times.”
Earlier on February 21, 2001, Ellerin tried to make a date with Kutcher. He declined and so Ellerin spent the day with her father.
Later, Ellerin called her landlord Mark Durbin to fix a light in her apartment. He later testified that they’d had sex and were in a “blossoming” relationship.
After Durbin left, Ellerin again called Kutcher, asking about his plans to watch the Grammys. Again he turned her down but agreed to meet later that night at her home behind Hollywood’s famous Chinese Theater.
Kutcher later told the police he tried calling Ellerin twice, but she didn’t pick up.
Around 10:45 that night, Ashton drove to her house, hoping to fix things before what he thought would be a big argument. He knocked but Ellerin didn’t answer the door. Ashton looked through the window and saw what he thought was red wine on the floor.
Thinking that Ellerin was upset for refusing her offers, he left. But he didn’t know that just beyond the view of the window, Ellerin lay dead of 47 stab wounds. The ‘red wine’ had actually been her blood.
Ellerin’s body was found by her roommate. Michael Thomas Gargiulo, an air conditioning repairman, lived just 400 feet from Ellerin. He had recently taken a strong interest in the woman and even offered to come to her home to fix her heater.
Court documents say Gargiulo entered the home while Ellerin was showering, and stabbed her. He was so brutal that Ellerin was nearly left decapitated. “After she was murdered her body was left displayed in a…demeaning pose that was sexual in nature.”
Gargiulo is also accused of the 1993 murder of his high school classmate Tricia Pacaccio, and the 2005 murder of Maria Bruno.
He was arrested in 2008 after another victim, Michelle Murphy, survived a knife attack.
Ashton Kutcher’s testimony will be crucial for prosecutors to prove the time of Ashley Ellerin.