A Santa Monica man has been charged with murder in the fatal stabbings of two women, including a former girlfriend of actor Ashton Kutcher.
Michael Thomas Gargiulo, 32, was previously charged with attempted murder and burglary in connection with the stabbing of a Santa Monica woman inside her apartment in the 1200 block of 12th Street in late April. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office additionally charged Gargiulo September 4th with two counts of murder and two counts of first-degree burglary in the stabbing deaths of Maria Bruno, 32, in 2005 and Kutcher’s ex-girlfriend Ashley Ellerin, 22, in 2001, district attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.
The charges were accompanied by special circumstance allegations of murder during a burglary, lying in wait and multiple murders. Although filed as a capital case, a decision on whether the death penalty will be sought will not be made until the case moves closer to trial, Gibbons said.
Gargiulo, who was working as an air conditioning repairman at the time of his arrest in early June, pleaded not guilty to all charges during an arraignment hearing September 4th, Gibbons said. He is scheduled to return to the Superior Court Airport Courthouse for a preliminary hearing Monday, October 20th, she said.
Police have said the suspect is also linked through DNA evidence to the fatal stabbing of a woman near Chicago in 1993, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
At the time of their deaths, Gargiulo reportedly lived near the woman in Chicago, and also near Ellerin in the Hollywood Hills and Bruno in Monterey Park, police said.
Gargiulo’s attorney, Anthony Salerno, has said his client denies involvement in the cases.
Santa Monica police arrested Gargiulo after detectives and forensic specialists located DNA evidence at the home of the woman on 12th Street, Lt. Daniel Salerno said. The evidence was processed through a DNA database and identified Gargiulo, police said.
The suspect is currently being held without bail in Los Angeles County Jail.