DNA links man to killing of Ashton 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, the Associated Press reports. 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 is still married to Demi Moore last we checked, 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.
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. Detectives matched a DNA sample taken from blood at the crime scene to Gargiulo. Lowe said further database cross-referencing found that Gargiulio's DNA matched genetic evidence in the three killings.
Gargiulo's attorney, Anthony Salerno, said his client denies involvement in any of the attacks and "thinks the police are out to get him." He said Gargiulo has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder and burglary charges from April and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Thursday.
[Photo: Getty Images]