Michael T. Gargiulo, the man suspected to be the “Hollywood Ripper” was found guilty on Thursday in the murders of two women and attempted murder of a third in California. Prosecutors say he is also responsible for the 1993 murder of neighbor Tricia Pacaccio, 18, in Illinois.
Gargiulo was also convicted of attempted escape. The sanity phase of the trial is expected for August 20, according to a Los Angeles County District Attorney’s statement obtained by Law&Crime.
The defendant maintained the same M.O. across attacks, prosecutor Daniel Akemon told jurors during closing arguments. He targeted women who lived near him, perhaps even in the same building, according to authorities. He would acquaint himself with the victim, her habits, and routines, said Akemon. This process ended with him executing a “blitz-type” knife attack, said the prosecutor.
The spree ended in 2008 when he accidentally cut himself during an attack, said the prosecutor. Gargiulo bled all over the target’s bedspread and sheet, according to the closing statement.
#HollywoodRipper – Defense attorney Daniel Nardoni now giving opening statement. He reminds jurors that Michael Gargiulo is innocent until the state proves him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. pic.twitter.com/62HCjx3XdA
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) May 2, 2019
Authorities say this was the end of a years-long series of murders. Gargiulo targeted Pacaccio, a friend’s sister, in 1993, said Akemon. The victim’s father found her body. The prosecution maintained that he displayed no remorse for the assault. They claim Gargiulo said years later that he “left the bitch on the step for dead.”
This established a clear pattern of brutality that continued to the 2001 murder of Ashley Ellerin, 22, and the 2005 killing of Maria Bruno, 32. Ellerin was stabbed more than 47 times, Akemon said. She had been attacked from behind. Her throat had been cut from right to left, indicating a left-handed attacker. Gargiulo is a southpaw.
Bruno’s death was no less severe. The defendant entered her apartment through a window, and mutilated her, said Akemon.
This spree ended with attempted murder of Michelle Murphy in 2008, said the prosecution.
[Image via courtroom pool photographer.]