He’s taking the stand. Following the 2001 murder of Ashley Ellerin, actor-turned-investor Ashton Kutcher is testifying against the man standing trial for her murder. On Wednesday, May 29, he showed up in court to share what he knows in the case against Michael Gargiulo, an alleged serial killer who has been dubbed the “Hollywood Ripper.” The trial proceedings first began back in 2017, but now the star may finally help get justice for Ellerin, his girlfriend at the time.
Kutcher, 41, testified on the stand for about 40 minutes. The actor explained that the two were “friends” and “casual acquaintances” who had discussed hanging out after they had both recently gotten out of relationships. Establishing a timeline, he shared that he had spoken to her on the phone at 8:24 p.m. on February 21, 2001. His calls at 10 p.m., however, were unanswered. “I was letting her know I was on the way [to her house, but] she didn’t answer,” he shared.
“I didn’t know if she had left,” he continued. “I didn’t want to just to show up, so I went home, let my dogs out. I tried from my home phone. I wanted to call again I didn’t want to be weird and show up late at someone’s house. I’m guessing it was … [probably] 10:30 to 10:45 p.m.” The actor testified that he called two to four times before leaving a message. “I was trying to take her on a date and I didn’t want to sound over eager,” he explained. “So I just left her a message.”
When he got to the house, he “noticed all the lights were on.” Kutcher continued, “I looked through the window [and] didn’t see anything. [I] just assumed she gone out with her friend and bailed. … I thought, ‘I’m just going to holler in and said hey, I’m here.’ … As I as leaving, I looked through this window. … When I looked through, it looked like the place was a little bit of a mess, but I knew she was just moving in so I wasn’t really that concerned. And then I saw what I thought was red wine spilled on the carpet. But that wasn’t alarming because I went to her house party and it was like a college party. I didn’t think much about it.”
According to CBS News, Kutcher’s testimony is expected to help establish his late girlfriend’s time of death. The alleged night of her murder, the two were supposed to attend a Grammys party together. When the then-22-year-old wasn’t answering her phone, the actor showed up at her home to check on her. After she didn’t answer the door either, he left, but not before noticing spilled wine on the floor through a window. Now, prosecutors suspect that Ellerin was already dead at that time — and that the spilled wine was actually blood.
Ellerin’s murder isn’t the only one that Gargiulo, 43, is standing trial for. He’s also facing allegations that he is responsible for the deaths of an Illinois woman named Tricia Pacaccio, a California woman named Maria Bruno, and the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy, who is also testifying in the case. Prosecutors have described Gargiulo in court documents as “a serial, psychosexual thrill killer who engages in the systematic slaughter of beautiful women because he takes sexual pleasure from manipulating, stabbing, and killing his victims.”
The alleged killer was initially arrested in 2008 at Murphy’s attack. The crime was linked to the other California murders, and then later with Pacaccio’s murder in 2011. After pre-trial motions in 2017 followed by delays, the trial officially began on Thursday, May 2, 2019.