Where is Michael Gargiulo now? | The True Story of “The Hollywood Ripper”

What did Michael Gargiulo do?

Michael Gargiulo is a convicted American serial killer who was nicknamed “The Hollywood Ripper”, “Chiller Killer” and “The Boy Next Door Killer” due to the nature of his crimes and his MO. Gargiulo is an Illinois native who allegedly started off his run as a murderer as early as 1993. 

Gargiulo’s history of murders spanned 15 years wherein his last recorded crime includes two murders and an attempted murder in Southern California between 2001 and 2008. The murder of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin in Hollywood is what gave Gargiulo his infamous nickname, “The Hollywood Ripper”.

What were Michael Gargiulo’s crimes? 

Gargiulo’s first-known crime dates back to August 1993 wherein it was alleged that he may have stabbed his neighbour, 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio to death outside her house. After moving to Los Angeles in 1998, supposedly to escape from being tied to Pacaccio’s murder.

In February 2001, Gargiulo stabbed 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin 47 times in her home. Ellerin’s body was found with a brutal neck wound which severed her head. She was also found with deep, almost 6-inch deep, puncture wounds on her stomach, back and chest. The crime made Gargiulo’s case high profile because, on the night of her murder, Ellerin was supposed to go out on a date with Hollywood actor, Ashton Kutcher. 

In 2005, Gargiulo stabbed 32-year-old Maria Brunoage 17 times in total, killing her in her Californian home. In 2008, Gargiulo attempted to murder Michelle Murphy, his 26-year-old neighbour, in her Santa Monica home. Murphy fought off the attack and Gargiulo’s DNA was found at the scene which eventually incriminated him.

Where is Michael Gargiulo now? 

Gargiulo was arrested by the Santa Monica Police Department in 2008 after which he was charged with first-degree murder of Tricia Pacaccio along with two other California murders. Investigators were led to believe that there were more victims that Gargiulo was not confessing to because of the lack of evidence.

On August 15th 2019, Gargiulo was convicted on all counts and in October he faced either a death sentence or life in prison without the possibility of parole. After several delays, Gargiulo was sentenced to death in July of 2021. Gargiulo is now expected to be extradited to Illinois for the 1993 killing of Tricia Pacaccio which could lead him to face 25 years to life.

Michael Gargiulo was convicted for first-degree murder with special circumstances on 2 counts as well as attempted murder. He is currently serving time on death row in California’s San Quentin State Prison.

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