On the night of February 21, 2001, Ashton Kutcher drove to his girlfriend’s home behind the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Sunset Strip.
The actor had been dating Ashley Ellerin, a fashion student and part-time exotic dancer, for a few weeks.
The pair were originally meant to meet up earlier in the night for dinner and drinks, but Kutcher watched the Grammy Awards with friends at actress Kristy Swanson’s house instead.
He called Ellerin several times throughout the night but she didn’t pick up.
After leaving Swanson’s home, he decided to drive straight to Ellerin’s apartment to make amends with her.
When he arrived at the Hollywood Hills apartment at around 10.45pm, all the lights were on, and Ellerin’s maroon BMW was parked outside.
Kutcher knocked on the door, but Ellerin didn’t answer.
According to the Washington Post, he then peered in the front window and saw what he thought was red wine stains on the floor.
The actor assumed 22-year-old Ellerin had headed out for the night, or wasn’t answering the door because she was upset with him.
He headed home and didn’t think much else of it.
The next morning, he would discover Ellerin was not mad at him. She had been murdered in her apartment that night and the 'red wine stains' he saw on the floor were actually her blood.
She had been brutally murdered, her throat slit with such force she was almost decapitated, her body punctured with dozens of stab wounds. She was later discovered by her roommate, Justin Peterson.
This week, the actor testified at the trial of Michael Gargiulo, the man accused of murdering Ellerin.
“I assumed she had left for the night and I was late and she was upset,” he testified. “I just assumed she had gone out with her friend and bailed.”
“I saw what I thought was red wine spilled on the carpet,” he said. “But that wasn’t alarming because I went to her house party [days before] and it was like a college party. I didn’t think much about it.”
Kutcher told the court after hearing about Ellerin's murder the next day, he immediately contacted the police. The actor was worried he had been at the scene of the crime and that his fingerprints were on the door knob.
“My fingerprints are on this door and I was freaking out,” he testified. “I told [an officer], ‘Let me tell you what happened.'”