By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOSANGELES (Reuters) – A jury found a man nicknamed the “Hollywood Ripper” guilty on Thursday of knifing to death two women, including a date of actor Ashton Kutcher, and attempting to murder a third victim.
Michael Gargiulo sat impassively, leaning forward slightly in his chair, as the jury verdict was read.
The jury will next consider whether Gargiulo was sane at the time of the killings, in proceedings to begin on Tuesday, according to City News Service.
Kutcher, the former star of TV shows “Two and a Half Men” and “That ’70s Show” told the Los Angeles jury hearing the case in May that he arrived at the Hollywood bungalow of one of the victims the night of Feb. 22, 2001, after arranging a date with her, and found the lights on and the door locked, according to City News Service.
Peering through a window in the home of the victim, fashion student Ashley Ellerin, the then 23-year-old Kutcher saw “what I thought was a red wine spilled on the carpet.”
Ellerin, 22, was found dead at her home the next morning by a roommate. She had been stabbed 47 times, prosecutors said.
Ellerin was one of the women Gargiulo was convicted of murdering. The jury also found him guilty of using a knife to murder Los Angeles-area woman Maria Bruno and attempting to murder a third woman, Michelle Murphy, who survived a stabbing.
Gargiulo’s lawyers have argued their client suffered from a mental disorder that left him in a confusing “fugue state” during the attack on Murphy, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Gargiulo has denied committing the other slayings, the newspaper reported.
Prosecutors have said Gargiulo, 43, began his series of knife attacks as a teenager in the Chicago area in 1993, when he killed an 18-year-old woman, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Gargiulo is expected to later be extradited to Illinois to face charges in that killing.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Alistair Bell)