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Santa Monica Suspect Tied to Three Killings

By Jorge Casuso

September 2 – A Santa Monica man arrested for attacking a women with a knife while she was asleep in her Santa Monica apartment is expected to be charged with the murders of three women, including an ex-girlfriend of actor Aston Kutcher.

Michael Gargiulo, 32, who has been in jail since July, has been linked by DNA evidence to two killings in the Los Angeles area and one in suburban Chicago, Santa Monica police said.

One of the LA area victims, Ashley Ellerin, 22, was found stabbed to death in her home in the Hollywood Hills in February 2001, when she was dating Kutcher, star of TV hit “That '70s Show.”

Gargiulo also is suspected in the 2005 stabbing death of a woman in Monterey Park, police said.

DNA evidence also tried Gargiulo to the 1993 stabbing death of Tricia Pacaccio, a senior at Glenbrook South High School in the Chicago area, where he lived at the time. Pacaccio was found stabbed to death on her front doorstep, clutching her door key.

Gargiulo, an air conditioning repairman, was arrested by Santa Monica police in July in connection to the stabbing of a Santa Monica woman shortly before midnight April 28.

The victim, who was alone in her unit in a complex on the 1200 block of 12th Street, was able to fight off the suspect, who fled on foot, according to police.

The victim received several lacerations during the struggle and was transported to a local hospital, where she was treated and released, police said.

Garguilo has been held on $1.1 million bail for the last two months on attempted murder and burglary charges in connection to the incident.

Garguilo, who has denied the charges, is due in court Thursday for a pre-trial hearing relating to the Santa Monica stabbing incident.

Police confirmed reports that he could face new murder charges this week for the 2001 fatal stabbing of Ellerin.

Kutcher, who is now married to Demi Moore, told police that Ellerin had failed to answer the door when he went to pick up the student fashion model at her home to attend a post-Grammy Awards party.

Ellerin was found dead the following day by a friend.

Kutcher was never a suspect in the case.

Gargiulo's attorney, Anthony Salerno, told reporters that his client denies involvement in any of the attacks and "thinks the police are out to get him."

Although Gargiulo lived near the four victims at the time of the attacks and police found one of his garments in one of the victims' homes, that did not make him guilty, Salerno said.

Salerno questioned why police have taken so long to charge Gargiulo, saying that he was not aware of any DNA matches in the three killings, according to reports.





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