Jury Recommends Death Penalty in “Hollywood Ripper” Case

After several hours of deliberation, the jurors hearing the case of the “Hollywood Ripper” recommended the death penalty. The defendant, Gargiulo, was accused of murdering two women – Ellerin and Bruno, and attempting to slay a third – Murphy. The prosecutor painted Gargiulo, a former air conditioner repairman, as appearing to be a helpful neighbor only to stalk his alleged victims before attacking them.

In February of 2001, Gargiulo is said to have broken into the home of model and fashion design student Ellerin and stabbed her to death. On the night of the alleged attack, actor Ashton Kutcher, had a date with the woman. Kutcher, who was starring on the TV series ‘That ‘70s Show,’ had planned to take Ellerin to a Grammy after-party.

Kutcher was called to testify in the case. He said that when he arrived at Ellerin’s house, he knocked several times but didn’t get an answer. The lights were on in the home, so he looked in the windows, but didn’t see any movement. However, he stated that he saw what he thought was a wine stain on the carpet. He figured Ellerin had gone out for the night, and he left.

Later, Kutcher found out that the red mark he saw was blood. When he learned of Ellerin’s death, Kutcher hurried and called the police, fearing that he would be a suspect since his fingerprints would be on the door.

Gargiulo was also accused of stabbing Bruno in December of 2005. Allegedly, he broke into the mother of four’s apartment and stabbed her 17 times.

Another key witness who testified in the case was Murphy. She claims that she was attacked by Gargiulo while she slept and woke up to find a man hovering over her. She fought him off while he was stabbing her, and when she asked why he was attacking her, he apologized and ran out. During that 2008 incident, the man cut himself, leaving DNA evidence that led to Gargiulo’s arrest.

Charged with and Convicted of Murder

In August of 2019, Gargiulo was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Under California law, a person could be charged with first-degree murder if the:

  • Act was premeditated or deliberate;
  • Alleged offender used a weapon of mass destruction, a bomb, armor-piercing bullets, or a firearm shot from a car;
  • Alleged offender was lying in wait for the victim; or
  • Offense was committed during the course of a felony or attempted felony

The penalties for this first-degree murder include 25 years in state prison, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or death.

Because his alleged acts were premedidated and he was said to have been lying in wait for his victims, Gargiulo faces the death penalty. Although the jury can recommend a sentence, the judge makes the ultimate decision. Gargiulo’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for February of 2020.

Speak with the Law Office of Frances Prizzia

If you’re facing accusations of committing a violent crime, contact our attorney as soon as possible. With the penalties for a murder conviction being so severe, it’s crucial to have solid legal representation on your side to fight charges. We are ready to provide the aggressive defense you need.

Discuss your situation by calling us at (888) 925-2727 or scheduling a consultation online.