By the time the actor arrived at Ashley Ellerin's home between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m., she was dead.
Ashton Kutcher, who was riding on the success of starring on That 70’s Show, was looking forward to meeting 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin on a date. But on the night of Feb. 21, 2001 Kutcher grew worried when he was three hours late for their date. The actor was watching the Grammy Awards with friends at actress Kristy Swanson‘s house earlier that evening and didn't realize how the time had flown by. “Kind of lost track of time a little bit,” he testified in the capital murder trial of alleged serial killer Michael Gargiulo, reports PEOPLE. “I probably left at like 10 o’clock, somewhere around there, and realized it was later than I anticipated and wanted to call her to let her know, you know, I was on my way." He later went to Ellerin's apartment and knocked on her door. When she didn't answer he said he “just assumed that she had gone out with her friend and bailed,” as part of his testimony.
In 2001, Ashton Kutcher was picking up 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin for a date when she wouldn't answer the door. It turned out she was murdered by the "Hollywood Ripper." https://t.co/tW3GToEx75 pic.twitter.com/uaxFvPnxp8— E! News (@enews) August 16, 2019
Ellerin was a student at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and had dreams of starting her own fashion line. She also studied at UCLA’s prestigious fine arts undergraduate program. By the time the actor arrived at her home between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m. the aspiring fashion designer was dead. In a horrifying turn of events, she was found in her Hollywood home with 47 stab wounds, some of the injuries were so severe they had nearly decapitated her.
Just hours before her date with Ashton Kutcher, Ashley Ellerin was brutally stabbed to death by the alleged #HollywoodRipper. More on the 22-year-old's life and tragic murder:https://t.co/TjG5wb0asH pic.twitter.com/PpUKSF0Ug6— Access Hollywood (@accesshollywood) May 30, 2019
In his testimony, Kutcher said he peeked through the windows and saw what he described as a stain on the floor. “I saw what I thought was like red wine spilled on the carpet, but that was also not that alarming to me at the time because I had just been to a party at her house like a week ago and it was kind of – it was almost like a college party and there were a lot of people and they were drinking, and so I didn’t really think anything of it,” he said. The actor said he left the place thinking that “I kind of had screwed up and showed up too late and she left.” The stain turned out to be the young woman's blood. According to The Sun, he continued, "I remember the next day after I heard about what happened, I went to the detectives and said 'my fingerprints are on the door'. I was freaking out."
Prosecutors claimed that Ellerin was killed while she was getting ready to meet Kutcher. They said Gargiulo snuck into her home and stabbed her viciously during that time. It is believed that Ellerin met the then 24-year-old Gargiulo outside her home asking her if she needed help fixing a flat tire. The alleged serial killer was dubbed “boy next door killer” because he attacked women who lived nearby after learning their daily routines and habits.
Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon said, “What no one knew for many years is that Michael Gargiulo was leading a double life”. Prosecutors also called Michael Gargiulo as a "serial, psychosexual, thrill killer." Gargiulo, also dubbed the Hollywood Ripper, was found guilty in August of 2019 of killing 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin in 2001 by a Los Angeles jury, reports PEOPLE.
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Photo by Frederick M. Brown (R) Getty Images | Photo by Al Seib-Pool