By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The so-called “Hollywood Ripper” was sentenced to death Friday for killing and mutilating two Southland women, including one who died hours before she was set to go out with actor Ashton Kutcher.

A jury recommended death for Michael Gargiulo, but earlier this year, he pleaded with a judge to spare his life.

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Michael Gargiulo listens during closing statements in his capital murder trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, August 6, 2019. – Gargiulo, also known as the “Hollywood Ripper,” is charged with murders in 2001 and 2005 and suspected to have committed as many as 10 more. (Photo by Lucy Nicholson / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Gargiulo was found guilty in the 2001 murder of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin – who was killed just hours before she was about to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher – and the 2005 slaying of Maria Bruno, a 32-year-old mother of four young children. He was also found guilty in the attempted murder of Michelle Murphy in 2008 and awaits trial in Illinois, where he was charged in 2011 with the murder of an 18-year-old woman.

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Ellerin was found stabbed dozens of times and nearly decapitated, while Bruno’s body was mutilated as she slept, prosecutors said during the trial. Because of the violent nature of the murders, the killer was nicknamed the “Hollywood Ripper.” But prosecutor Dan Akemon said he was more like the “boy next door,” noting that he lived near all of his victims and appeared to obsess over them before their murders.

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Gargiulo was tried under prior Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s administration. A judge refused to allow a statement from current District Attorney George Gascon, who opposes the death penalty, to be read before the sentencing hearing.