July 5, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Serial Killer Found Sane in Murders of Two Women

Michael Thomas Gargiulo found guilty in stabbing deaths of two LA woman and attempted murder of Santa Monica woman.

By Sam Catanzaro

A 43-year-old Santa Monica man was found sane yesterday for the murders of two women and the attempted murder of a female neighbor that spanned seven years, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced.

A six-man, six-woman panel deliberated for several hours before making the finding against Michael Gargiulo (dob 2/15/76).

Gargiulo was found guilty last week of two counts of first-degree murder with the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and lying in wait, making him eligible for the death penalty. He also was convicted of one count of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder and attempted escape.

The penalty phase of the trial is expected to begin Sept. 9.

Gargiulo was found guilty in the murders of 22-year-old fashion designer Ashley Elleri in her Hollywood Hills home in 2005 and of 23-year-old Maria Bruno at her El Monte apartment. Elleri was the then-girlfriend of Ashton Kutcher. In addition, Gargiulo was found guilty for the 2008 attempted murder of a neighbor in her Santa Monica home. Illinois prosecutors also charged him in 2011 for the August 14, 1993, murder of Tricia Pacaccio, an 18-year-old Glenview woman who was repeatedly stabbed outside her home.

“What you will hear is that Michael Gargiulo, for almost 15 years, was watching, always watching,” said prosecutor Daniel Akemon. “And his hobby was plotting the perfect opportunity to attack women with a knife in and around their homes.”

In the Santa Monica case, Gargiulo’s DNA was found in the blood splatter at the scene of the crime. The victim, Michelle Murphy, was in bed in her Euclid Street home when she awoke with a knife plunged into her. Murphy fought off the attacker and survived the incident.

Prosecutors described Gargiulo as a serial sexual-thrill killer and are seeking the death penalty.

Gargiulo is expected to be extradited to Illinois after the Los Angeles trial wraps up.

Related Posts

Landscaping 50 Percent Complete for George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon

July 3, 2022

July 3, 2022

Officials provide update for park under construction By Dolores Quintana A recent update from the City of Los Angeles’ Department...

John McEnroe and Patty Smyth Sell Malibu Home for $29 Million

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

Malibu Colony home sold to unknown buyer in private sale By Dolores Quintana John McEnroe, a retired former tennis star,...

SMa.r.t. Column: A Tale of Two Cities

July 2, 2022

July 2, 2022

The City of Santa Monica is surrounded on three sides by the City of Los Angeles. Therefore, while the jurisdictions...

Santa Monica City Council Approves Ballot Measure That Would Increase Hotel Bed Tax

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Santa Monica’s bed tax has been raised since 2004 By Dolores Quintana In a vote on June 28, the Santa...

PETA Attempts to Stop the Beach Club From Holding Annual Fireworks Display

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Parking lot where display is held is on City of LA land, not Santa Monica, allowing Club to obtain permit...

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Prepares for SMASH/Muir Campus Mold Removal

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Exact costs for repairs still unknown By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro  It is unknown exactly how much the total...

Watering Restrictions for Santa Monica Residents Take Effect Soon

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

New restrictions will go into effect on July 5, limiting watering to twice a week By Sam Catanzaro New restrictions...

Daily Harvest Recalls Meal Kits Handed out at Venice Event Following 470 Cases of Mysterious Illness

June 30, 2022

June 30, 2022

Direct-to-consumer meal kit company under fire for handling of outbreak tied to lentil and leek meal kit By Sam Catanzaro...

Central Coast Brewery Makes Westside Acquisitions

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Figueroa Mountain Brewing acquires Broxton Brewery, The Stalking Horse and more. Staff, current beer taps to remain on board at...

Mexican Restaurant Possibly Expanding Into Former Swingers Space

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Bar Hermanito applies for an alcohol exemption sales permit for space at 802 Broadway in Santa Monica By Dolores Quintana...

Six Family-Fun Westside Fourth of July Events

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Fireworks, parades, runs and more taking place across the Westside  By Ashley Sloan  Pacific Palisades  The Pacific Palisades will be...

California Credit Union Awards Grant to Santa Monica Teacher

June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

Building electric circuit friendship detectors and applying engineering principles to solve real world problems are Westside school projects receiving funding...

Santa Monica’s Building Bridges Art Exchange Presents: J.J. Martin’s “Role Models”

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

A traveling exhibit in partnership with Indianilla Cultural Center, Mexico City and Real de Catorce Cultural Center, Real de Catorce,...

Santa Monica City Council Approves New Rules to Streamline Meetings

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Pilot program will run through end of year By Dolores Quintana At the Santa Monica City Council meeting on June...

Banning Construction of New Gas Stations in Los Angeles?

June 28, 2022

June 28, 2022

Motion from LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz calls for banning the building of any new gas pumping facilities By Sam...