Accused Hollywood Ripper Michael Gargiulo is a 'cold-blooded, tortuous, remorseless' serial killer who thought he was 'smarter than the police,' the jury at Gargiulo's murder trial was told Tuesday.
And he learned his deadly knife skills by reading a book called The Anarchist Cookbook, 'which teaches how to kill people,' said assistant District Attorney Garrett Dameron in his closing arguments at the three-month-long trial at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.
'These were monstrous attacks….The killer took pleasure in plunging a knife into his victims over and over again, leaving them to die and be found by their loved ones.'
Gargiulo, 43, has pleaded not guilty to the brutal 2001 killing of TV star Ashton Kutcher's then-girlfriend Ashley Ellerin, 22 - whose head was almost severed from her body at her Hollywood home - and slashing to death LA mother-of-four Maria Bruno, 32, whose breasts were cut off in the vicious 2005 attack.
Michael Gargiulo, 43, laughed while appearing in court Tuesday with his lawyer Daniel Nardoni to face two counts of murder and one of attempted murder
Gargiulo, dubbed Hollywood Ripper, is believed to have killed up to 10 women, including Maria Bruno, 32, in 2005 and 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio in 1993
Ashton Kutcher testified in May in the case
One of Gargiulo's alleged victims is Ashley Ellerin who was fatally stabbed aged 22 in her Hollywood home in 2001. She was meant to go on a date with Ashton Kutcher at the time of her death
The former heating and air-conditioning repairman also denies the 2008 attempted murder in Santa Monica of Michelle Murphy, 26, who, though stabbed multiple times, bravely fought off and survived the attack…and became a star witness in Gargiulo's trial.
Gargiulo learned his deadly knife skills by reading The Anarchist Cookbook, which 'teaches how to kill people', the assistant district attorney said
And police have also accused Gargiulo of viciously stabbing to death Tricia Pacaccio, 18, in Chicago in 1993 but he has yet to face trial on that charge.
It was the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy that finally brought the killer to justice, Dameron told the packed courtroom where Gargiulo - dressed in a white shirt and dark pants, with shaved head and missing the goatee he had earlier in his trial - appeared calm and unruffled.
'This 26 year-old woman had the strength and courage to fight off a killer…..She fought him and cut his right wrist, leaving a trail of blood that led back to his apartment and led to answers that had been sought for 15 years about the killer of Ashley Ellen, Maria Bruno and Tricia Pacaccio.
Dameron - who told the jury of eight men and eight women that blood found on Murphy's bedding and blood found on Pacaccio's fingernails matched Gargiulo's DNA - said that there were 20 similarities in the four crimes that pointed to the same culprit.
'These common characteristics point to one killer, Michael Gargiulo,' he said.
At the time of the 2008 attack on Murphy, 'Gargiulo felt confident, arrogant, dare I say invincible. He bragged that he was smarter than the police. He told people he could commit murder and get away with it. He had proved that to himself over the previous 15 years.'
He was described as a 'cold-blooded, tortuous, remorseless' serial killer who thought he was 'smarter than the police'
Just before the attack on Murphy - who lived just across an alley from Gargiulo - he told a co-worker, 'She's hot - I'm going to get her,' Dameron told the court.
It was revealed Tuesday that Gargiulo studied notorious serial killer Ted Bundy
'But Michelle Murphy said ''no, you're not going to get me''. She was stronger and she was smarter.'
Gargiulo targeted and stalked his victims who were all 'young, attractive and outgoing,' the court heard. He told a co-worker that Murphy was 'hot.' He was 'fixated' on Ashley Ellerin and of Maria Bruno, he told an acquaintance, 'That's how I like them - thin with large breasts.'
Behind a backdrop of gruesome photographs showing the blood-soaked bodies of the women, Dameron said Gargiolo's MO was to live close to his victims, to set up a 'hunting ground' where he could study and watch their movements and their activities.
Gargiulo is also 'extremely strong and athletic,' the prosecutor added. 'The killer broke Tricia Pacaccio's arm. He plunged the knife into Ashley Ellen sod hard , it penetrated her skull.'
When eventually confronted by cops, 'It took four LA Police Department officers to stop him when he tried to run. He is extraordinarily strong and athletic.'
Gargiulo was roaming free until 2008 when he allegedly attacked Michelle Murphy, who fought him off and survived after she was stabbed 17 times
Gargiulo told people that he's studied forensics, said Dameron. 'He took precautions not to leave evidence behind. He never left behind any weapon of article of clothing and he disposed of that evidence.
'He researched other serial killers, like Bundy. He told people he knew how to leave no fingerprints. He knew how to avoid being seen exiting a crime scene covers in blood and with a bloody knife.'
Gargiulo had a book called The Anarchist Cookbook which he told others, 'it tells you how to kill people,' Dameron went on. 'The Anarchist Cookbook tells how to hold a knife, how to kill with one…how to cause death in a matter of seconds'.
Police who confiscated Gargiulo's computer found that he had logged on to a website called The Evidence Eliminator, which told him 'how to conceal and cover his tracks,' added Dameron.
The court also heard that after his final arrest, Gargiulo tried to escape from jail by 'unlocking his handcuffs with a piece of metal given to him by another inmate.'
And undercover cops who were placed in the cell with him, reported that Gargiulo plotted to attack jailers, 'put them down, grab their stun guns and put them in cuffs,' Dameron told the jury.