CNN reports Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler called Gargiulo’s crimes “vicious and frightening” as he handed down the sentence. “In this case, everywhere that Mr. Gargiulo went, death and destruction followed,” Fidler said in denying the defense’s motion for a new trial.
The sentencing comes two years after a jury convicted Gargiulo and recommended his execution.
The 45-year-old was found guilty in August 2019 of murdering 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin in 2001 and 32-year-old Maria Bruno in 2005. He was also found guilty in the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy in 2008 and awaits trial in Illinois, where he was charged in 2011 with the murder of an 18-year-old woman.
Gargiulo’s case received national attention because one of his victims, Ellerin, was due to go on a date with Kutcher on the night she was killed in February 2001. The fashion design student was found in her Hollywood home with 47 stab wounds.
In December 2005, Gargiulo murdered Bruno, a mother of four, in her home in El Monte. Bruno’s breasts were cut off and her implants were removed. Gargiulo’s third victim, Murphy, was able to fight him off during her attempted murder in April 2008. During the struggle, Gargiulo left a trail of blood that also led to his eventual arrests for the other two slayings.
In court Friday, Gargiulo denied involvement in the attacks. “I’m innocent,” he said. “I’ve been framed by tunnel-vision detectives.”
Gargiulo is unlikely to be put to death anytime soon. California has not executed anyone since 2006 and Governor Gavin Newsom has halted executions for as long as he is in office.