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Ripping Open Old Wounds: Trial To Begin For 'Serial Killer' Who Murdered Ashton's Ex

Jun. 13 2017, Published 10:07 a.m. ET

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The family of Ashton Kutcher’s murdered girlfriend is hoping to put years of anguish behind them now that her alleged killer is nearly set to stand trial.

As Radar reported, Ashley Ellerin was dating Kutcher at the time of her death back in February 2001. Her neighbor, local repairman Michael Thomas Gargiulo, was accused of stabbing her 47 times, almost severing her head from her body.

Due to countless delays, Gargiulo is still waiting for his day in court, but lawyers are now finalizing details to make sure the trial goes forward in October — and it could last up to 12 weeks.

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A pre-trial hearing was held at Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, June 9, and Judge Larry Paul Fidler announced another meeting on September 8 for pre-trial motions. He also set a trial date for the following month.

Alleged serial killer Gargiulo has been charged with three counts of murder and one of attempted murder. Dan Nardoni and Dale Rubin are representing Gargiulo, while Dan Akemon is the prosecuting attorney.

Nardoni exclusively told Radar: “He’s changed lawyers a lot, but I’m not going to get into why. I’ve been on the case for about a year. We are moving as quickly as possible, but we have 36,000 pages of discoveries, and that doesn’t include photos and audio tapes.”

Ellerin, 22, who was dating Ashton while he was starring on That 70s Show, was a student and part-time stripper. On the night she was killed, Kutcher had arranged to visit her and tried to call a number of times before turning up at her house.

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Kutcher, 39, later told police he thought she was mad at him for not making an earlier date, and he peered through her window. The actor mistook a pool of blood for spilt red wine and ended up heading home.

Court documents detailed the gruesome scene police encountered when they found Ellerin’s mutilated corpse.

"Gargiulo quite literally butchered her body — stabbing her multiple times, slitting her throat, slicing off her breasts, and staging her for family members and police to find,” read legal papers.

Gargiulo, who police believe may have butchered up to a dozen women, wasn’t arrested until 2008 when DNA was recovered from the Santa Monica apartment of Michelle Murphy, who survived a vicious knife attack.

Prosecutors call Gargiulo “a serial, psychosexual thrill killer who engages in the systematic slaughter of beautiful women because he takes sexual pleasure from manipulating, stabbing and killing his victims.”

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