Ashton Kutcher testified Wednesday in the trial of suspected serial killer Michael Gargiulo, better known as the 'Hollywood Ripper', who faces two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of two women, including Kutcher’s former girlfriend Ashley Ellerin.
Kutcher had planned to go out to dinner with Ellerin, 22, on the evening of February 21, 2001, after having developed a relationship in the months prior. Prosecutors claim Gargiulo snuck into Ellerin's home and stabbed her 47 times while she was getting ready to meet the actor, which Kutcher describes as a first date.
Kutcher testified that on the night Ellerin was killed, they had plans to get dinner or drinks and had spoken on the phone earlier in the evening. But later on, he tried her multiple times and she didn’t pick up. Eventually, when he came by her home between 10:30 and 10:45 pm, nobody answered despite the lights beingon. He testified he “just assumed she had gone out with her friend and bailed.”
"I thought it odd the lights were all on, I didn't want to be the guy looking through her window," Kutcher said, per CNN, adding that the place looked a little bit of a mess, "Then I saw what I thought was red wine on the carpet."
Prior to going to Ellerin’s home, Kutcher had been watching the Grammy Awards at actress Kristy Swanson‘s house, he said: “I assumed she had left for the night and I was late and she was upset.” The next day upon learning Ellerin had been murdered, Kutcher claimed he was worried because he had put his fingerprints on her doorknob when trying to open her front door.
“My fingerprints are on this door and I was freaking out,” he said, per People. “I told [an officer], ‘Let me tell you what happened'."
The 41-year-old actor is one of more than 100 witnesses who have or are scheduled to testify in the murder trial of 43-year-old Gargiulo, who prosecutors have described as a “serial sexual-thrill killer” who stalked and then viciously stabbed his unsuspecting victims, all young women who lived near him.
At the time of the alleged murders, Gargiulo was a 24-year-old air conditioning repairman and former bouncer at the Rainbow Bar & Grill. Ellerin’s friends later told police that Gargiulo, who lived less than a block away from her, would show up at her house uninvited. Another friend said he saw Gargiulo parked outside her bungalow at odd hours, surveilling her home.
Gargiulo is also charged with the 2005 stabbing murder of Maria Bruno, 32, and the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy, who was viciously stabbed in her Santa Monica home in 2008. He also faces a murder charge in Illinois in the death of 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio, who was found stabbed to death outside her Glenview home in 1993.
This article originally appeared on marie claire Australia.