A man charged with murder and attempted murder of young women in the L.A. area will face trial Thursday, CBS Los Angeles reports. Prosecutors say Michael Gargiulo, the so-called “Hollywood Ripper,” targeted young women in Illinois and the L.A. area, killing two — including a woman who was scheduled to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher the night she was killed — and stabbing another victim.
Gargiulo has been called a “serial sexual thrill killer,” allegedly stabbing and butchering his victims. His first alleged victim, a 17-year-old, was found stabbed to death by her father.
Prosecutors say he killed 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin in 2001 at her Hollywood Hills home. At the time, Ellerin was scheduled to go on a date with Kutcher, who was supposed to pick her up on his way to a party, but she never made it to the door.
As “48 Hours” reported, Kutcher arrived around 10:45 that night, but Ellerin never answered her door. According to police interviews, before he left, Kutcher looked in the windows and saw what he thought was spilled wine on the floor. As it turned out, it wasn’t wine at all.
Ellerin was found by her roommate early the next morning.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Jennifer Disisto recalled. “I entered the house. And Ashley was laying across the two stairs – absolutely blue and covered in blood.”
It’s been reported that Kutcher could be called to testify in court.
Four years later, Gargiulo allegedly killed a young mother, 32-year-old Maria Bruno, who lived in the same El Monte apartment complex as him.
In 2008, Gargiulo moved to Santa Monica where prosecutors say he tried to stab another woman to death.
The woman was a neighbour of Gargiulo and was able to escape and survive.
While Gargiulo has represented himself in the past, he has two lawyers defending him now.
Once the trial is over, Gargiulo will be sent back to Illinois to face murder charges for his alleged first victim.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the relationship between Ashton Kutcher and Ashley Ellerin. Ellerin was not Kutcher’s girlfriend but his date.
(This story was originally published on CBS News on May 2 at 7:02 a.m. ET)