Ashton Kutcher Testifies In Ex-Girlfriend's Murder Trial
Ashton Kutcher has testified at a Los Angeles murder trial that he went to pick up a woman to go out for drinks on a night in 2001 and left when she didn't answer her door, only to learn the next day she had been killed.
The 41-year-old actor said from the witness stand Wednesday that he looked into the window at the Hollywood home of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin and saw what he believed were wine stains before leaving, thinking the fashion design student had already gone out for the night.
Kutcher said he told detectives the next day he knew his fingerprints were on the door and he was "freaking out."
The testimony came in the trial of 43-year-old Michael Gargiulo, who is charged with killing Ellerin and another woman. Los Angeles prosecutors said Gargiulo attacked three women, killing two of them, including Ellerin, who was friends with the actor.
"48 Hours" correspondent Maureen Maher reported that during opening statements, prosecutors told jurors they believe Ellerin was attacked from behind by Gargiulo after she exited her shower on February 21, 2001. Around 10:45 p.m., Kutcher arrived to take her to a Grammys party.
According to deputy district attorney Daniel Akemon, Kutcher looked in the window when he arrived at Ellerin's home and thought he saw wine spilled on the floor. "We believe now the evidence will show that was actually blood," Akemon said.
Kutcher allegedly told police, when she didn't answer the door he left. Ellerin was found brutally stabbed to death by her roommate the next morning. Prosecutors describe Gargiulo as a "methodical and systematic" killer. He is accused of attacking at least four women, three in California and one in Illinois.
Michelle Murphy, the prosecution's first witness, was allegedly Gargiulo's only survivor. Prosecutors claim Murphy battled for the knife and say Gargiulo used to stab her, cutting him, and leaving his DNA at the crime scene – DNA that was found years earlier on another victim, Tricia Pacaccio, across the country.
The family of 18-year-old Tricia was called to testify in this trial because of the similarities between Tricia's 1993 death in suburban Chicago and the three cases from L.A. County. Investigators believe Pacaccio was Gargiulo's first victim.
Her murder was unsolved until 2011, when two witnesses came forward after watching areport on the case. Within a few weeks, Gargiulo was indicted, but has not yet been tried. His attorneys deny he killed anyone.