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Suspect in Kutcher girlfriend murder charged

17:00 Mon Jul 11 2011

A man accused of murdering actor Ashton Kutcher's girlfriend in 2001 is now alleged to have killed a teenager.

Michael Gargiulo was dubbed the "Hollywood Ripper" after being charged three years ago with the stabbing deaths of two California women — 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who had been dating Kutcher at the time, as well as the 2005 murder of Maria Bruno, 32.

Kutcher, who is now married to Demi Moore, told Los Angeles police in 2001 that Ms Ellerin did not come to the door when he went to her Hollywood Hills home. Her bloodstained body was later found inside the house.

Gargiulo, 35, has now been charged with first-degree murder over the death of 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccos who was stabbed outside her home in Chicago 18 years ago, police confirmed.

They said the death shows similar patterns to the killing of Kutcher's then girlfriend and DNA evidence found under Pacaccio's fingernails matches the suspect's.

Two co-workers of Gargiulo have allegedly come forward after watching an episode of TV crime program 48-hours which featured information on his cases.

“These witnesses contacted our office and provided us with information that Gargiulo had admitted to them that he had killed a girl in Chicago,” said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

The two people made "very specific statements" about what Gargiulo told them when working together in the late 1990s, she added.

Alvarez said her office has long suspected Gargiulo was involved in the killing, but said there were too many questions over the DNA evidence alone for them to file charges.