Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Police: DNA links man to slaying of Kutcher’s ex

DNA evidence has linked an air conditioning repairman to the stabbing deaths of three women, including a former girlfriend of actor Ashton Kutcher, police said Friday. Michael Gargiulo, 32, of Santa Monica has been in custody since July for a separate knife attack and could face murder charges as soon as next week, police said. Santa Monica police Lt. Darrell Lowe said DNA collected from a crime scene last spring helped link Gargiulo to the stabbing deaths of women from Los Angeles, suburban Chicago and Monterey Park.
One of the cases involves 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, Kutcher’s former girlfriend, who was found dead in February 2001 in her Hollywood Hills home.
Kutcher, who starred in the television series “That ‘70s Show” and is married to actress Demi Moore, 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.
Kutcher’s agent, Stephanie Simon, said the actor had no comment. Police said they have a DNA match that links Gargiulo to another fatal stabbing of a Monterey Park woman in 2005. They also suspect Gargiulo in the 1993 killing of a high school girl in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, where Gargiulo lived at the time. Tricia Pacaccio, a senior at Glenbrook South High School, was found stabbed to death on her front doorstep, clutching her door key.
Gargiulo was being held in lieu of $1.1 million bail on attempted murder and burglary charges stemming from the April 28 stabbing of a Santa Monica woman in her home, Lowe said. On Aug 14, 1993, Tricia Pacaccio, a high school senior, was attacked outside her home, the Sun-Times reported. Pacaccio was stabbed to death as she tried to enter the front door, and her father found her body the next morning. Pacaccio was still holding the front door key.
NBC5’s Dick Johnson reported that when Gargiulo was initially questioned, he denied he killed her, but did admit he was with her the day before. There is no mention of him in what would have been his senior yearbook after her slaying — only a memorial to Pacaccio on a back page, Johnson reported.
Pacaccio’s father has reportedly declined to comment, and her family is still waiting for an answer from the Cook County State’s Attorney about why they won’t charge him. A source told Johnson that even if Gargiulo is charged with a similar crime in Los Angeles, the Glenview case would still be very difficult to prosecute because there is little, if any, incriminating evidence.


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