true crime

Ashley Ellerin, 22, was dating Ashton Kutcher when she was murdered. The trial is about to begin.

Warning: this post contains violent and graphic content. 

Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher had a chilling event take place 15 years ago, after visiting the apartment of his girlfriend, unaware she had been brutally murdered inside.

In 2001, 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin was living in Los Angeles, working as a model and exotic dancer. Having just ended a long-term relationship, she was dating a number of men, including Kutcher, the then star of That 70s Show. For Kutcher, it was a time before Punk’d, Demi Moore, Mila Kunis and his two children, Wyatt and Dimitri.

ashton kutcher murder case
Ashton Kutcher earlier this year on The Late Show. Source: Youtube.

While it is not known how long the pair had been dating for, on February 21, Ellerin attempted to meet up with Kutcher twice, first suggesting the pair go on a date and later asking if she could attend a Grammys watching party with Kutcher at his friend's house. Both times, Kutcher declined Ellerin's requests but suggested the pair meet up later that night.


Throughout the day, Ellerin spent time with her father, and requested her landlord, Mark Durbin visit her apartment to fix a broken light fixture. While at the apartment, Ellerin and Durbin had sex.

According to police reports, Durbin left the apartment, and at around 10.45pm, Kutcher drove to Ellerin's apartment, "in the hope of smoothing over what he thought was a looming argument, and found that the lights were on in her apartment and her car was parked outside."

Ashton Kutcher murder case
Ashton Kutcher in 2001. Source: Getty.

"After knocking on the door and calling out to her with no answer, Kutcher said he looked through a window into the apartment and saw what he thought was red wine pooled on the floor," the report continues.

Kutcher simply assumed Ellerin was mad at him and left the apartment. What he couldn't have known, however, was that Ellerin was inside having been brutally murdered, her throat slit with such force she was almost decapitated, her body punctured with 35 stab wounds. She was later discovered by her roommate, Justin Peterson.

Remaining unsolved for seven years, it was eventually alleged in 2008 that Ellerin's murderer was air-conditioning repairman Michael Gargiulo - also known as the Chiller Killer - who is currently accused of murdering two other women and attempting to murder a fourth.

In all cases, now 40-year-old Gargiulo's treatment of his victims was similar, with the man allegedly stabbing victim Maria Bruno "multiple times, slitting her throat, slicing off her breasts, and staging her for family members and police to find.”

The case against Ellerin's killer was made after DNA evidence linking the cases was gathered from the scene of an attempted murder. Friends of Ellerin's say she had met Gargiulo prior to her death and he had taken an "intense interest" in the 22-year-old.

A pre-trial was held on June 9, and it's believed the trial will begin in October.

Kutcher may be asked to testify.