ASHLEY Ellerin was killed 18 years ago, just before she was due to go on a date with the then rising Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher.
But who was she and how close was she to the That '70s Show star? Here’s what we know.
Who was Ashley Ellerin and what is her connection to Ashton Kutcher?
Ashley was a 22-year-old fashion student from north California who was murdered on February 21, 2001 at her LA apartment.
She attended the LA’s Fashion Institute of Design of Merchandising in the fall of 2000.
The young woman met Ashton Kutcher in December 2000 and they reportedly started a relationship in February 2001.
Her friend Chris Duran described her to CBS News as "beautiful," "fun" and "spontaneous".
How did Ashley die?
Ashley was stabbed 47 times in her apartment before Ashton Kutcher was meant to pick her up for a date.
The Hollywood actor was going to be taking her to a post-Grammys party.
It was feared Ashley had a stalker after her alleged killer had started showing up to her apartment unannounced offering to fix things around the house.
Ashley had met the then 24-year-old Michael Gargiulo, when she went to get her flat tyre fixed.
The man dubbed the "Hollywood Ripper" was sentenced to death on Friday for murdering two women, including Ashton Kutcher's then-girlfriend.
Michael Gargiulo's crimes were "vicious and frightening," according to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler who sentenced the 45-year-old to death.
Gargiulo was convicted in August 2019 for murdering Ellerin in 2001 and Maria Bruno, 32, in 2005 – but at his sentencing, he argued he shouldn't have been convicted.
"I'm innocent. I've been framed by tunnel-vision detectives," Gargiulo said.
The former bouncer, air-conditioner repairman, and aspiring actor was also found guilty of attempted murder in an attack on a Santa Monica woman in 2008.
What has Ashton said about the murder?
The actor has testified during the trial.
He said when he arrived to Ashley’s home, she didn’t answer the door.
He told the court: “I knocked on the door. There was no answer. Knocked again.
“And once again, no answer. At this point I pretty well assumed she had left for the night, and that I was late, and she was upset.”
He added that before he left, he peeked through the windows and saw what he described as a stain on the floor.
He said: “I saw that I thought was red wine on the carpet. 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.”
He added: "I remember the next day after I heard about what happened, I went to the detectives and said 'my fingerprints are on the door'. I was freaking out."
The stain later turned out to be Ashley’s blood.
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