'Hollywood Ripper' guilty of stabbing two women to death, attempted murder

Michael Gargiulo.
Michael Gargiulo. Photo credit: Getty.

A US jury has found a man nicknamed the "Hollywood Ripper" guilty of knifing to death two women, and attempting to murder a third victim during a seven-year span.

A court panel will now consider whether Michael Gargiulo, a 43-year-old former handyman and aspiring actor, was sane at the time of the crimes.

One of the victims, fashion student Ashley Ellerin, was linked to actor Ashton Kucher, who was due to take her on a date on the night she was killed, in 2001.

Kutcher, the former star of TV shows Two and a Half Men and That '70s Show told the Los Angeles jury in May he arrived at her Hollywood bungalow and found the lights on and the door locked.

Peering through a window, the then 23-year-old Kutcher saw "what I thought was a red wine spilled on the carpet" and left.

Ellerin, 22, was found dead at her home the next morning by a roommate.

The jury also found Gargiulo guilty of using a knife to kill 32 year old Maria Bruno, who lived in the same apartment complex as him in suburban El Monte, in 2005

The jury found Gargiulo guilty of attempting to murder a third woman, Michelle Murphy, who survived a 2008 stabbing at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica.

He attacked the then 26-year-old Murphy but she fought him off and in the struggle, Gargiulo was cut and left behind DNA evidence, which police investigators used to tie him to the murders of Ellerin and Bruno, prosecutors said.

Gargiulo's lawyers have argued their client suffered from a mental disorder that left him in a confusing "fugue state" .

Prosecutors say Gargiulo began his series of deadly knifings as a teenager in the Chicago area in 1993, when he killed an 18-year-old woman.

Gargiulo is expected to later be extradited to his home state of Illinois to face charges in that killing.