Back in 2001, when Ashton Kutcher was just 23 and best known as Michael Kelso on That ‘70s Show, the actor was casually dating a 22-year-old fashion student named Ashley Ellerin. On the night of February 21, 2001 the pair had plans to attend a few Grammys afterparties, but when Kutcher called her, she was unreachable. He then drove to her home and when he looked inside her window, saw what he believed to be spilled wine, and then departed. According to E!, what he thought was booze was actually blood; Ellerin had been stabbed 47 times. The suspect is accused serial killer Michael Gargiulo, known as the “Hollywood Ripper,” and now, 18 years after her murder, Kutcher is “expected to testify” in Gargiulo’s trial, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Superior Court told E!. Gargiulo faces two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Gargiulo was arrested in 2008 “after DNA evidence linked him” to Ellerin’s murder and that of 32-year-old California resident Maria Bruno, who was also found stabbed to death. Gargiulo has pleaded not guilty.
The trial, which opened Monday, is expected to take about six months the Associated Press reports. Prosecutor Daniel Akemon told the publication:
“What you will hear is that Michael Gargiulo for almost 15 years was watching, always watching. And his hobby was plotting the perfect opportunity to attack women with a knife in and around their homes... [His method] was to first identify a target who lived near him, acquaint himself with that victim and her habits and routines, and then watch, shadow, stalk and hunt down the victim relentlessly as part of his plan to kill.”
Akemon is seeking the death penalty.