Ashton Kutcher to Testify at Trial of Alleged 'Psychosexual Thrill Killer' Accused of Murdering Friend

Ashton Kutcher told police that he peered through a front window and saw what he believed were red wine stains on the floor

Ashton Kutcher, Ashley Ellerin
Photo: David Livingston/Getty;

Ashton Kutcher is scheduled to testify Wednesday in the trial of suspected serial killer Michael Gargiulo, who faces two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of two women — including Kutcher’s friend Ashley Ellerin.

Ellerin, 22, had planned to attend a post-Grammy party with Kutcher on the evening of Feb. 21, 2001. Instead, prosecutors allege Gargiulo snuck into her Hollywood home and stabbed her 47 times while she was getting ready for her outing with the actor.

“We believe she had just exited the shower and was getting ready to go out with Mr. Kutcher when she was attacked from behind,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon said in a Los Angeles courtroom during the trial’s opening statements.

The 41-year-old star of Netflix’s The Ranch, who is now married to actress Mila Kunis, is one of more than 100 witnesses who have or are scheduled to testify in the murder trial of 43-year-old Gargiulo, who prosecutors have described as a “serial, psychosexual thrill killer” who stalked and then viciously stabbed his unsuspecting victims — all young women who lived near him.

Ashley Ellerin

Gargiulo was a 24-year-old air conditioning repairman and former bouncer at the Rainbow Bar & Grill when he first met Ellerin, a student at L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, outside her home in the fall of 2000, asking her if she needed help fixing a flat tire.

Ellerin’s friends later told police that Gargiulo, who lived less than a block from her, would show up to her house uninvited. Another friend said he saw Gargiulo parked outside her bungalow at odd hours, surveilling her home.

On the evening of Feb. 21, 2001, Ellerin spoke to Kutcher at 8:24 p.m. to confirm their plans.

Ashley Ellerin

Kutcher called Ellerin again at 10:15 p.m. but there was no answer.

Prosecutors believe Ellerin was already dead and had been killed by Gargiulo shortly after she spoke to Kutcher earlier in the evening.

At 10:45 p.m., Kutcher stopped by her home. When nobody came to the door, he called her again but she didn’t answer.

“[Kutcher] believed at that point he had been stood up,” Akemon said.

Kutcher later told police that before he left, he peered through a front window and saw what he believed were red wine stains on the floor. Prosecutors allege that the stains were blood.

“We believe now the evidence will show that was actually blood, and Ashley had already been murdered,” Akemon said.

Ellerin’s roommate found her body the following morning.

Michael Gargiulo
Michael Gargiulo. Al Seib-Pool/Getty

Akemon said Kutcher’s testimony is part of the “chronology of this case” that shows “there was a … very narrow window of opportunity for someone to get into the house and murder Ashley, and whoever that person was must have been watching.”

Gargiulo is also charged with the 2005 murder of Maria Bruno, 32, and the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy, who was viciously stabbed in her Santa Monica home in 2008.

Santa Monica Police Dept./

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Gargiulo also faces a murder charge in Illinois in the death of 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio, who was found stabbed to death outside her Glenview home in 1993.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Related Articles