Frederick M. BrownGetty Images
Ashton Kutcher recounted unknowingly stumbling upon a grisly murder scene at Wednesday’s trial for suspected serial killer Michael Gargiulo, aka the “Hollywood Ripper.”
Kutcher’s friend, Ashley Ellerin, was one of four women thought to have been attacked by Gargiulo, whom prosecutors describe as a “serial sexual-thrill killer,” over a 15-year-period. According to reports, Kutcher told the jury they had first-date dinner plans the night of February 21, 2001. They’d met the previous December, and decided to go out for a bite after discovering they were both single. When Kutcher, who was starring in That 70’s Show at the time, knocked on the door of her home in Hollywood around 10:30 p.m., no one answered. He tried to open the front door, but it was locked. He even peeked through a window.
“I saw what I thought was red wine spilled on the carpet,” Kutcher testified, “but that wasn’t alarming because I went to her house party [days before] and it was like a college party. I didn’t think much about it.”
Officials believe by the time Kutcher showed up to Ellerin’s home, she had already been stabbed to death 47 times in the bathroom. According to PEOPLE, Kutcher testified that he “just assumed she had gone out with her friend and bailed.”
“We believe she had just exited the shower and was getting ready to go out with Mr. Kutcher when she was attacked from behind,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon said during opening statements.
Kutcher didn’t find out that Ellerin had been brutally murdered until the following day. According to PEOPLE, he reportedly told police his fingerprints were on her door. “My fingerprints are on this door and I was freaking out,” he reportedly said. “I told [an officer], ‘Let me tell you what happened.’ “
Kutcher testified for around 40 minutes on Wednesday and is one of more than 100 witnesses who have already appeared or are scheduled to appear in court.
Gargiulo has pleaded not guilty to the charges, including the fatal 2005 stabbing of Maria Bruno and the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy in 2008. In addition to these attacks in Los Angeles county, prosecutors also believe Gargiulo is behind the murder of Tricia Pacaccio, who was found stabbed to death in 1993.