Jury recommends death penalty for the ‘Hollywood Ripper’

Michael Gargiulo, who is known as the "Hollywood Ripper: due to the violence of his crimes, reacts in court after jurors recommended a death sentence for killing and mutilating two Southland women and attacking a third, during his trial at the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles, California on October 18, 2019. - Gargiulo was convicted August 15 of two counts of first-degree murder for the February 22, 2001, slaying of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin in her Hollywood bungalow hours before she was set to go out with actor Ashton Kutcher, along with the December 1, 2005, killing of Maria Bruno, a 32-year-old mother of four young children, in her El Monte apartment. (Photo by Mario TAMA / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARIO TAMA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — A jury has recommended the death penalty for Michael Gargiulo, known as the “Hollywood Ripper,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

Gargiulo, 43, was found guilty in August of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder and attempted escape, according to a news release from the DA’s office.

The jury, made up of six men and six women, deliberated for “several hours” before reaching the death sentence recommendation, the office said in a release.

Prosecutors depicted Gargiulo as a killer who charmed his female victims as a helpful neighbor and handyman before breaking into their homes and stabbing them to death, according to CNN affiliate KABC.

One of the victims, Ashley Ellerin, was stabbed 47 times. She had planned to go with Ashton Kutcher to a Grammy Awards after-party on the night she was killed in her home in 2001. Kutcher testified at the trial.

A second murder victim, Mario Bruno, a neighbor of Gargiulo’s, was killed and mutilated in December 2005.

In 2008, Gargiulo attacked and stabbed Michelle Murphy, who survived. He accidentally cut himself in the attack, allowing investigators to link his DNA to the other killings, KABC reported.

Gargiulo’s sentencing is scheduled for February 28, the DA’s office said. The judge will have the final decision.

He has also been charged in a 1993 slaying in the Chicago area, the DA’s office said. Prosecutors claim that victim, Tricia Pacaccio, was Gargiulo’s first. He was 17 at the time.

CNN has reached out to Gargiulo’s attorney, but hasn’t yet had a response.

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