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Suspect in slaying of actor's girlfriend charged in Chicago death

July 8, 2011 |  7:36 am

http://www.chicagotribune.com/media/photo/2011-07/248888400-07083029.jpg

DNA evidence helped connect a man accused of killing actor Ashton Kutcher's girlfriend and another woman in the Los Angeles area with the slaying of a Chicago woman, authorities say.

Michael T. Gargiulo, an air-conditioner repairman, was charged three years ago in the February 2001 stabbing death of 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who was then Kutcher's girlfriend, and the December 2005 stabbing death of Maria Bruno in an El Monte apartment.

Gargiulo was a neighbor of Tricia Pacaccio, who was stabbed outside her home in the Chicago suburb of Glenview in 1993.

Authorities say DNA evidence found under Pacaccio's fingernails matches the suspect's. He was charged in her killing on Thursday.

Detectives had long considered him a suspect in that slaying but for years struggled to build a case.

Cook County Sheriff's Det. Lou Sala traveled to Los Angeles, hoping to get a DNA swab from Gargiulo several years ago but could not find him. But he did bump into an LAPD detective who was looking into the Ellerin and Bruno slayings, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"We compared notes and found out what kind of case [Cook County detectives] had and what they were looking for," LAPD Det. Tom Small told the paper. "The bells went off. That's the same guy we're looking for."

-- Shelby Grad

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Left photo: Tricia Pacaccio in her 1993 senior photo from Glenbrook South High School. Credit: Pacaccio family; Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Right photo: Michael Gargiulo after his arrest in June 2008 in the attempted murder of a 28-year-old California woman. Credit: Chicago Tribune

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