Prosecutor calls California serial killer suspect ‘boy next door killer’ – Suspect linked by DNA to two attacks

Michael Gargiulo, center, appears with his defense attorneys Dale Rubin, left, and Daniel Nardoni, right, in Los Angeles Superior Court for opening statements on his trial on murder charges Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Los Angeles. Gargiulo is accused of killing two women and trying to kill one in sex "thrill-kill" attacks between 2001 and 2008. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)

By AMANDA LEE MYERS,  Associated Press  LOS ANGELES (AP) 05/02 — An air conditioning repairman charged with murdering a Chicago-area teenager and two California women, one the ex-girlfriend of actor Ashton Kutcher, would “watch, shadow, stalk and hunt down” his victims before fatally stabbing them for sexual pleasure, a Los Angeles prosecutor said during opening statements Thursday.

Michael Gargiulo’s trial began with a prosecutor outlining the California murders for jurors, calling the defendant “the boy next door killer” and his crimes “the methodical and systematic slaughter of women.”

“What you will hear is that Michael Gargiulo for almost 15 years was watching, always watching,” prosecutor Daniel Akemon said. “And his hobby was plotting the perfect opportunity to attack women with a knife in and around their homes.”

Michael Gargiulo appears in Los Angeles Superior Court for opening statements on his trial on murder charges Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Los Angeles. Gargiulo is accused of killing two women and trying to kill one in sex “thrill-kill” attacks between 2001 and 2008. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)

 

Gargiulo, 43, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and an attempted-murder charge stemming from attacks in the Los Angeles area between 2001 and 2008, including the death of Kutcher’s former girlfriend, 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin.

Gargiulo was arrested in 2008 after DNA evidence linked him to one of the killings and a non-fatal attack. He was separately charged with killing an 18-year-old Glenview, Illinois, woman whose father found her fatally stabbed on their family’s doorstep, house key still in hand.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Gargiulo’s attorney, Daniel Nardoni, reminded jurors during his opening statement that his client is presumed innocent and said other men had better access or motive in the killings.

He also pointed out that no murder weapon has been found and no DNA evidence connected Gargiulo to the killing of Ellerin.

Defense attorney Daniel Nardoni, left, gives his opening statements on the trial of his client, Michael Gargiulo, in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday, May 2, 2019. Gargiulo is accused of killing two women and trying to kill one in sex “thrill-kill” attacks between 2001 and 2008. Gargiulo’s attorneys previously said Gargiulo denies any involvement in the killings and although he lived near all the victims, that doesn’t make him guilty. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)

 

Gargiulo’s trial is expected to take six months. Kutcher, who is married to Mila Kunis, is among the witnesses expected to take the stand.

Kutcher’s ex-girlfriend was found dead in 2001 in her Hollywood Hills home. Kutcher told police he went to pick up the fashion student-model for a post-Grammy Awards party, but she did not answer the door.

He checked a back window and spotted what he thought were red wine stains on the carpet and then left. Her body was discovered the next day by a friend.

This 2008 photo provided by the Santa Monica Police shows Michael Gargiulo. Opening statements have begun in the Los Angeles murder trial of Gargiulo, an air conditioning repairman charged with the stabbing deaths of two women and a suburban Chicago teenager for sexual gratification. Gargiulo’s trial began Thursday, May 2, 2019, with prosecutors outlining their arguments for jurors. (Santa Monica Police via AP)

 

Another victim in the case, 32-year-old Maria Bruno, was found stabbed to death in her apartment in suburban El Monte in 2005. Her breasts had been cut off. One victim survived a stabbing attack in her Santa Monica apartment in 2008.

Gargiulo was a neighbor of each victim at the time of the attacks.

The teenager killed in Illinois, Tricia Pacaccio, lived just down the street from Gargiulo in suburban Glenview. Gargiulo was a friend of her brother’s and 17 at the time Pacaccio was stabbed to death on her front porch.

Later police said DNA collected from Pacaccio’s fingernails matched Gargiulo.

https://www.apnews.com/734c4453e1014325aac2f49b605a87ab

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Posted in: Arrests, Courts & Trials, Crime & Criminals, Deaths, DNA Evidence, Homicide, Murder/Attempted Murder, Prosecutors, Serial Killings, Victims of Crime

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