‘Hollywood Ripper’ Michael Gargiello ‘enjoyed watching deaths’ after inflicting pain

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Tom Small will never forget the moment he came across Ashley Ellering’s body in the Hollywood bungalow she rented.

On the evening of February 21, 2001, the 22-year-old had just finished taking a shower and was getting ready to go out for the night. She was stabbed to death.

this California residents It wasn’t until the next morning that he was discovered by his roommate who had just returned to his residence. Ellerin’s body was just outside the bathroom entrance.

“I will never forget this brutal act,” Small, a retired homicide detective, told Fox News Digital. “I’ve seen a lot of homicides over the years. All kinds of homicides. None of them were pretty. But this one stood out. She was so young and the way she was dismembered was so vicious. It’s one of those. I think I’ve seen more vicious attacks.

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Ashley Ellerin was murdered on February 21, 2001, in her home in Hollywood, California, as she prepared to attend the Grammy Awards with actor Ashton Kutcher party. Kutcher later told police that when he went to pick up the 22-year-old fashion student, she didn’t answer. (Courtesy of Los Altos HS/ZUMApress.com)

“From the position she was in, it was clear the suspect wanted us to find her. Whoever did this had one intention – to cause bodily harm. To cause pain. That’s what he wanted. He wanted total control.”

Xiao is talking “Hollywood Crime Stories” True crime series hosted by Kelly Heyman. Season two focuses on the case of Michael Gargiulo, known as the “Hollywood Ripper” and “The Boy Next Door Killer.” It contains new interviews with relevant investigators as well as leading experts.

“I want the public to know that there are people like this out there,” Small said. “In my profession you see a lot of murders and stabbings. But it was done with the sole purpose of killing and destroying. It was brutal. It sticks with you.”

Ashley Ellerin pictured on TV

True crime podcast Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is exploring the murder of Ashley Ellering. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times Pool/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Ellering was stabbed 47 times. Twelve of the wounds were considered fatal. She had multiple defensive wounds on her hands and right forearm.

“She was hit in the front, back, upper body, lower body and throat,” Small recalled. “This person had to be on top of her, very close, watching her go by. I don’t know what kind of person this was, just that it was a devil. It was evil.”

Ellering, Born in Maryland, Small said he dreamed of living in a “big city.” Like many others, she wanted to break into Hollywood. Known for her beauty, Ellerin quickly connected with friends in the entertainment industry.

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Ashley Ellerings' Home

Ashley Ellering’s Home (David McNew/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

“She had no enemies, but she had a million friends and colleagues,” Small said. “Some people are entertainment industry. Others are personal friends she grew up with. There are many suspects to choose from. I started looking at parolees because in that area of ​​Hollywood, especially in those years, we had several crimes. We had street robberies; Lots of rapes. But there’s no sexual component to it. It’s more about inflicting pain and control.

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“She had several acquaintances,” Small continued. “She was a young, beautiful lady who a lot of men were attracted to. I remember I gave her landlord a really bad time… We were satisfied we could rule him out. But it took a while.”

The night Ellerin was killed, She and Ashton Kutcher have plans. The former That ’70s Show star later testified in court that he was late for a date with Ellering and checked into her house when no one answered the door. The actor saw what he thought was wine spilled on the carpet. After noticing her car in the driveway, Kutcher thought she was angry with him for being late. Assuming Ellering deliberately left the door open, he left.

Ashton Kutcher testifies

Ashton Kutcher testifies. (Frederick M. Brown)

Police are stranded and have no concrete leads. However, some of Ellering’s friends recalled a “creepy heating and air guy” named Mike. No one knows where he lives. His car is unknown. But, somehow, he ends up at Ellering’s house party.

“She had probably 60 people in there, and a lot of people would look at this Mike and say, ‘Who the hell is that guy? How does she know him?'” Small explained. “[According to friends]”, Ashley would laugh it off and say, ‘He looked at my stove and thought he was my friend. He’s harmless.'”

About a week before the killings, Ellering hosted a birthday party for one of her girlfriends. Friends said “Mike” was there and had a “laser focus” on her.

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Ashton Kutcher points to apartment blueprints in court

Ashton Kutcher discovered what he thought was wine stains at Ashley Ellerin’s home. (Frederick M. Brown)

“One witness described him as being like a laser beam,” Small said. “If she moved from room to room he would change his position so he could keep an eye on her. He would also walk around the house. It looked like he was looking at the layout.”

According to Small, After Ellering’s murder, “Mike” suddenly disappears. Although he was a regular visitor, he was never seen around again. He had no friends curious about his whereabouts. He was the “strange” guy who suddenly disappeared.

According to prosecutors, Ellering first met “Mike” a few months before his death, E! The news reported it. He lived nearby and offered to fix the flat tire for Ellering and her friend, the outlet reported. He then gave them his business card for an air conditioning repair service.

Michael Gargiullo Photos

Photo by Michael Gargiello. He was 32 years old at the time of the murder. (Santa Monica Police Department/ZUMApress.com)

After some digging, Los Angeles Police Department Got the name and driver’s license photo. It’s Gargiulo.

In Cook County outside Chicago, Tricia Pacaccio’s mother relentlessly pursued investigators. The 18-year-old girl was found on the morning of August 1993. She was stabbed multiple times in the chest, chest and arms.she The case is cold; The heartbroken matriarch is desperate for answers. In 2002, new DNA technology allowed investigators to revisit evidence originally collected from the crime scene.

Detectives still have Gargiulo on their list of suspects. When they learned he was moving to Los Angeles from Illinois, they contacted the Los Angeles Police Department.Obtain DNA sample and send to Illinois State Police Crime Laboratory. It matched the DNA on Pacaccio’s fingernails.

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Detectives stop by Michael Gargiulos' home

Detectives Tom Small, left, and Mark Lilienfield walk past Michael Gargiulo during the jury trial of People v. Michael on June 20, 2019 in El Monte, Calif. Apartment 34 where I live. The Gargiulo case. (Frederick J. Brown/AFP)

The Pacaccio family lives near Gargiulo’s childhood home.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute Gargiullo, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prosecutors claimed DNA may have been exchanged through casual contact, the outlet reported. As for the LAPD, there is no physical evidence linking Gargiullo to Ellering’s murder.

But Gargiulo will not escape police attention. In 2003, an ex-girlfriend claimed he hit her in the face and threatened to kill her, Oxygen.com reported. The two met when she hired him to fix air conditioners, the outlet reported. She also claimed Gargiro later stalked her, prompting her to seek a restraining order.

Michael Gargiulos Victim

On May 2, 2019, Michael Gargiulo appeared in court in Los Angeles for opening statements in his murder trial, showing a photo of the victim. (Alseb-Pour)

In 2005, Maria Bruno was found dead in her Los Angeles home. The 32-year-old mother-of-four suffered a slashed throat and multiple stab wounds. A blue surgical slipper was found at the crime scene. Small described it as “a thrilling killing.”

In 2008, Michelle Murphy was attacked in her Santa Monica apartment. She was stabbed multiple times in the chest but survived. Authorities said Gargiullo cut himself and left blood stains. DNA linked him to other cases.

Gargiulo’s lawyers later argued in court that someone else murdered Bruno and Ellering. They admitted their client assaulted Murphy but said he was in a “fugue state” due to a personality disorder and did not know where he was at the time.

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Defense attorneys gather outdoors

Defense attorneys walk around the evidence location at 1229 12th Street in Santa Monica before the jury arrives during the murder trial of Michael Gargiulo on June 19, 2019 in Los Angeles. (David McNew/Pool)

The defense also claimed that Ellering was killed by another man with whom she was romantically involved who was jealous of her upcoming date with Kutcher.

But the facts are undeniable. Gargiulo lived near Bruno and “watched” Bruno “carefully.” He is famous for wearing blue surgical slippers. He is also left-handed. A murder has occurred Attacked by a left-handed attacker.

Gargiulo’s past also shocked Small.

Apartment Michael Gargilos

Michael Gargiulo’s apartment (David McNew/Pool)

“He beat his father,” he explained. “He took a banquet table and broke it off his sister’s back. There were only two people in his family that he respected. One was his mother. The other was his brother, who was a little dirty himself. I think His father was afraid of him.”

In 2019, Gargiulo was convicted of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. He was sentenced to death in 2021.

Small said he was “relieved.”

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Michael Gargiulo, wearing a white-collar shirt, looks to the side

Michael Gargiulo was sentenced to death. (Lucy Nicholson/AFP)

“He loved watching death,” Small said. “This guy deserves everything he gets. He had one intention and that was to cause pain. … Things like this stay with you. It certainly stayed with me.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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