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Ashton Kutcher Girlfriend Killer Suspect Michael Gargiulo to Finally Face Murder Charge in Chicago-Area Slaying of Teen Tricia Pacaccio

Michael Gargiulo, the man charged locally in the murder of onetime Aston Kutcher love interest Ashley Ellerin, will now face the music outside Chicago, where his alleged killing and crime spree started nearly 18 years ago with the death of a neighbor.

Gargiulo was indicted in Cook County for the alleged murder of then-high school class mate Tricia Pacaccio.

The man was been charged locally in the homicide of Ellerin, whom Kutcher dated, and in the death of El Monte's Maria Bruno, as well as in the rape of Santa Monica's Michelle Murphy.

Authorities in Chicago had DNA linking the suspect to the crime, but declined to press charges, with Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez saying it was "not the silver bullet."

LA Weekly's coverage of the case, via staffer Christine Pelisek, called Cook County's handling of the Pacaccio murder "a screw up of tragic proportions."

The victim's mother, Diane Pacaccio, told the Weekly:

I don't know why they didn't arrest him. They claimed there wasn't enough evidence. I said, 'Who else's DNA was on her?' For some reason they must have a low opinion of [a jury] here [in Chicago]. Who wouldn't convict someone from DNA?

But after two witnesses who had seen the case's spring expose on 48 Hours Mystery came forward, prosecutors seemed to think they had more than one silver bullet now.

CBS was quick to take credit, with the Illinois victim's father, Rick Pacaccio, stating:

There is no doubt about it, you guys did good. The informant saw me on the show and couldn't take it anymore, and came forward.

According to a Cook County statement, the new wits "had worked with Gargiulo at a bar and grill in Hollywood California in the late 1990's."

We would presume here that these two are going to say Gargiulo told them stuff about Pacaccio's murder. But would that kind of (possible) hearsay hold up in court? Certainly not as well as DNA would.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]


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