Serial killer known as 'Hollywood Ripper" faces execution after being sentenced to death

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Jul. 16 2021, Published 9:13 p.m. ET

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The man who murdered two women in Southern California and was known as the “boy next door” killer or “Hollywood Ripper” was sentenced to death.

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Michael Gargiulo was in a Los Angeles courtroom on July 16, where the judge handed down the punishment. A jury recommended the death penalty in October 2019, but it wasn’t officially handed down until 18 months later due to delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was convicted in 2019 of the murders of Ashley Ellerin, 22, and Maria Bruno, 32, according to media reports. Both women were mutilated but were attacked years apart. Ellerin was a victim in 2001 and Bruno in 2005.

Gargiulo denied he was the killer during his sentencing hearing.

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"I'm innocent," he said, according to FOX11. "I've been framed by tunnel-vision detectives."

Ellerin was attacked as she was preparing to head on a date with A-list actor Ashton Kutcher, who testified during the trial. Bruno was attacked in her home. Prosecutors noted that all of the victims were young and attractive.

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Gargiulo also was convicted of attempted murder in the 2008 attack of a woman who fought him off and fled her apartment.

He also faces a future trial in Illinois in connection to a 1997 murder in his hometown.

While Gargiulo has been sentenced to death, his execution date is unclear. California hasn’t performed an execution since 2006 and currently has a moratorium on carrying them out. Also, there are often several appeals after a person is sentenced to death.

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