Ashton Kutcher testified Wednesday in the “Hollywood Ripper” trial.
The Ranch actor, 41, was a witness in the case against Michael Gargiulo, who’s on trial for murdering two women, including Ashley Ellerin. The night Ellerin was slain on Feb. 21, 2001, she had a first date with Kutcher. He arrived at her home to pick her up after a Grammys viewing party, but she didn’t answer.
Kutcher said he thought he screwed up his chances with the woman when he knocked on her door and she didn’t answer as planned and his phone calls went unanswered. Kutcher, who also said he tried to “jiggle the doorknob,” had pushed back the time of their date, so he assumed she went out without him.
“I knocked on the door,” he recounted, according to the Los Angeles Times. “There was no answer. Knocked again. And once again, no answer. At this point I pretty well assumed she had left for the night, and that I was late, and she was upset.”
However, before he left, he looked through the window of her bungalow. He said the lights were on, it appeared messy and he saw what he thought was red wine spilled on the floor. It was actually blood — prosecutors say that Gargiulo, a neighbor, had snuck into her apartment and stabbed her 47 times. Her body was discovered the next morning by her roommate.
Kutcher said he was at Ellerin’s house the week before she died for a housewarming party, so the messy house wasn’t a red flag to him. He said, “I didn’t really think anything of it.”
The next day, when Kutcher — in the early years of That ‘70s Show — learned from police that Ellerin had been killed, “I was freaking out,” he admitted. He said that his fingerprints being on her door were part of his worry.
According to TMZ, Kutcher said on the stand that he spoke to Ellerin from a Grammys viewing party at 8:24 p.m. and she had just gotten out of the shower and planned to dry her hair. At 10 p.m., he called her and he left a message saying, because it was getting late, they’d skip dinner and just get drinks. He went home, walked his dog and arrived at her house at 10:45 p.m.
Gargiulo, an air conditioning repairman and bouncer, was infatuated with Ellerin, prosecutors said. They met when he offered to change her flat tire, which one of her friends suspected he slashed. Ellerin’s life has been dissected since Kutcher’s star rose — and she was liberally labeled in the press as Kutcher’s “girlfriend." Her childhood best friend wrote a book, The Hot One: A Memoir of Friendship, Sex, and Murder, about her detailing how she was working as a stripper and using hardcore drugs when she was murdered.
Gargiulo has been dubbed the Hollywood Ripper because he is also accused of killing another neighbor, Maria Bruno, by stabbing her as she slept in 2005. He also allegedly attacked another woman in L.A. in 2008, but she survived. Prosecutors have said he had a history of stalking and attacking women he lived near.
Gargiulo, who was arrested in 2008, is also facing murder charges in Illinois for the death of 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio in 1993. He lived in the state before moving to L.A. in 1998.
Kutcher, who’s now married to Mila Kunis, is one of 100 witnesses scheduled to testify in the trial. After he spent 30 minutes on the stand on Wednesday, he left court and isn’t expected to participate any further.
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