Ashton Kutcher was ‘freaking out’ after date discovered murdered

Fashion design student Ashley Ellerin was found dead in 2001 and had allegedly been stabbed 47 times by ‘serial sexual-thrill killer’ Michael Gargiulo

Harry Cockburn
Thursday 30 May 2019 13:48
Prosecutor talks about how murder suspect Michael Gargiulo 'led a double life'

Actor Ashton Kutcher has told a Los Angeles court he “was freaking out” when he was told a woman had been murdered the day after he arrived at her house to take her on a date in 2001.

Giving evidence in the case of the man nicknamed “the Hollywood Ripper”, who is accused of the murder of three women, Kutcher said he arrived at fashion design student Ashley Ellerin’s house two hours after speaking to her but there was no answer.

He said the lights were on and the door was locked. “I knocked on the door. There was no answer. Knocked again. And once again, no answer,” he said about the night of the 22 February 2001. “At this point I pretty well assumed she had left for the night, and that I was late and she was upset.”

He explained he had called to say he was running late for dinner but suggested they went straight out for drinks, he said at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Centre.

Before he left her house he looked through the window and saw “what I thought was a red wine spilled on the carpet”. “I didn’t really think anything of it,” Kutcher said, adding that he “figured I screwed up” by arriving at her house late.

Ellerin, 22, was found dead at her home the next morning by a roommate. She had been stabbed 47 times. Kutcher’s celebrity has increased the attention on the case.

Michael Gargiulo is on trial for the murder of Ellerin and two other women as well as the attempted murder of another. Gargiulo, 43, who has been described by prosecutors as a “serial sexual-thrill killer”, was arrested in 2008. He has pleaded not guilty.

Kutcher, now 41, said when he learned what had happened to Ellerin he spoke with police and was “freaking out” because he knew his fingerprints would be on the front door of her home.

“Don’t worry, you’re not a suspect,” Gargiulo’s attorney, Daniel Nardoni, told him. “Thank you,” Kutcher replied.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Kutcher testified he had met Ellerin months earlier at a friend’s birthday party, at which point he had a girlfriend. By February 2001 they were both single, and on the night of her murder the pair had planned to go for dinner and then drinks.

But at 8.30pm he said he called her and told her he was running late and they should just go for drinks.

She said no problem and told him she’d showered and was blow-drying her hair, he testified. He then called a further three times and left messages and arrived at her house at 10.30pm where he found the door locked.

Kutcher testified for less than an hour and was reportedly escorted from the court room by a sheriff’s deputy. Kutcher, who is famous for roles in Dude, Where’s My Car?, playing the title character (Steve Jobs) in biopic Jobs, and for the television programme Two and a Half Men, married Demi Moore in 2005. After their divorce in 2013, he later married Mila Kunis and the couple have two children.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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