A convicted murderer known under the alias “Hollywood Ripper” has been sentenced to death for killing two women.
The relatives of his victims wept as the judge handed down the death sentence to Michael Gargiulo in LA on Friday.
Gargiulo’s victims Ashley Ellerin, 22, and Maria Bruno, 32, were stabbed to death in their California homes in the 2000s.
The “Hollywood Ripper” was caught after intended victim Michelle Murphy, 26, managed to fight him off.
Blood was left at the scene which enabled the authorities to track him down.
Ms Murphy’s attendance at Friday’s sentence was an emotional one, she shared with the court that “spending the night alone creates a world of fear in me”, over a decade after the incident.
22-year-old Ellerin was about to go on a date with American actor Ashton Kutcher on the night she was murdered in February 2001.
Kutcher testified at the trial that he had gone to Ellerin’s Hollywood home and when there was no answer at the door he looked in her window and saw what he presumed to be wine stains on the floor.
Ellerin’s body was found the next day by her roommate, she had suffered 47 stab wounds.
Kutcher told the court he was "freaking out" when he found out that Ellerin had been killed.
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Gargiulo also killed his neighbour and mother-of-four, Maria Bruno, in December 2005.
Prosecutors said Gargiulo "quite literally butchered" her with a knife while she slept in a horrific fatal attack.
Three years after Bruno’s murder, Ms Murphy awoke with Gargiulo stabbing her with a knife as he rested on top of her before she managed to fight him off.
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Gargiulo is adamant he innocent but was convicted of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in 2019.
He is expected to stand trial in Illinois, where he will face a separate murder charge in regards to the killing of an 18-year-old woman in 1993.
Judge Larry Paul Fidler said: "In this case, everywhere that Mr Gargiulo went, death and destruction followed.”
There could be a delay in Gargiulo’s execution as the last one to take place in California was in 2006 and the method of punishment has been banned since 2019 under Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.
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