Murder Suspect Faces Death Penalty in Hollywood Killings
Murder Suspect Faces Death Penalty in Hollywood Killings
A man convicted of murder in the stabbing deaths of two women in Hollywood faces the death penalty. Michael Gargiulo, an air conditioner repairman, maintains his innocence following his August conviction. A jury found him guilty of the deaths of two women in 2001 and 2005. He is also suspected in the death of a neighbor in Chicago in 1993. Based on Gargiulo’s statements, police believe he may be responsible for more murders.

Prosecutors painted Gargiulo as a serial killer who derived a psychosexual thrill from killing women. In both cases, the killer attacked and mutilated the victims in their homes. A third woman who survived an attack in Santa Monica in 2008 testified against the man in court. Also testifying was actor Aston Kutcher, who planned a date with one of the victims the day she died. Kutcher testified that he had plans to pick up one of the victims, who was a student at the time of her death. He said he was late and when he knocked on her door, there was no answer. He looked in the window and saw a “wine stain” on the carpet. Police later said the stain was the victim’s blood.

Kutcher testified that he contacted police immediately upon learning of the woman’s death. He said he knew his fingerprints were on the woman’s door and thought the police might consider him a suspect. Investigators told Kutcher that he was never considered a suspect. At the time of the woman’s death in 2001, Kutcher was starring in the Fox television show, “That 70’s Show.”

Police developed Garguilo as a suspect after collecting his blood at the scene of the unsuccessful Santa Monica attack. They arrested him two months later. Prosecutors in Illinois have charged Gargiulo with murder but will not try their case until the conclusion of the California cases. Although Gargiulo has been incarcerated since 2008, numerous delays prevented his trial from moving forward. The delays arose because Gargiulo changed attorneys multiple times. Also, he represented himself for a period of about three years. Gargiulo proclaimed his innocence in a 2011 episode of the CBS true-crime show, “48 Hours.”

In August, a jury convicted the man of two counts of first-degree murder and special allegations of multiple murders and lying in wait. The special allegations make Gargiulo eligible for the death penalty. In addition, the jury convicted him of one count of attempted murder and attempted escape.

Santa Monica murder lawyer

When you face charges for homicide in Santa Monica, hire an experienced murder lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has 35 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes cases in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California.

When you face homicide charges in California, your life is literally at stake. Circumstances of the case against you can make you eligible for the death penalty. While the current governor has issued an execution moratorium, you can still receive the death penalty. Currently, about 750 Californians sit on death row awaiting execution.

Because the consequences of the death penalty are permanent, you need to have an aggressive, experienced attorney working on your defense. This case demonstrates the impact of switching attorneys and even representing yourself. Eleven years between arrest and conviction is a long time to wait for trial. An effective, aggressive attorney can help guide you through trial preparation, and the trial process.

Don’t rely on inexperience and don’t attempt to represent yourself in a homicide case. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for an immediate consultation on your Los Angeles County murder case.

Photo Credit: Jobs for Felons Hub,

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