Jury recommends a death sentence for Michael Gargiulo, 'The Boy Next Door Killer'

Jury recommends a death sentence for Michael Gargiulo, 'The Boy Next Door Killer'

His victims also include 22-year-old Ashley Alperin, who was killed one night in 2001 when he had plans with actor Ashton Kutcher.

A Los Angeles jury on Friday convicted a man named "The Boy Next Door Killer" of two murders and recommended the death penalty for attempted murder.

Victims of 43-year-old Michael Gargiulo also include 22-year-old Ashley Allerin, who was murdered one night in 2001, when he had plans with actor Ashton Kutcher.

He testified during the trial that he was late for his appointment with Allerin, looked at his home when there was no response at the door and saw what the alcohol stains were before leaving.

Gargiulo made no response when the clerk of the court read out the death sentence in a brief hearing. Jewelers could also recommend life in prison without the possibility of parole.

His lawyer Daniel Nardoni said outside court that he was angry and disappointed with the verdict.

"People with mental illnesses are not killed," Nardoni said. "It's just a matter of humanity. There is a different kind of punishment for mentally ill people. It's called life without parole."

Defense lawyers and a psychologist said in court that Gargullo has a personality disorder, previously known as multiple personality disorder.

Prosecutors, who did not speak to reporters after the hearing, called Gargullo a "neighbor's killer" because he lived near all the victims.

He was convicted for the 2005 murder of 32-year-old Maria Bruno and the 2008 murder of Michelle Murphy, who testified during the criminalization phase of the trial that he remained in fear for years after the attack.

Murphy fights when he was attacked in bed in his apartment in Santa Monica. Officials said Gargullo was bitten and left a trail of blood, leading prosecutors to link him to other cases, including a murder in 1997 in Illinois, for which he is still awaiting trial.

Murphy was also an important witness during the first phase of the trial.

"In days, weeks and months after it happened, I could barely sleep," Murphy testified. "I was afraid of the night and going to bed. I still slept with the lights on for a long time."

Gargiulo's lawyers argued that others committed the murders of Bruno and Ellerin. He admitted that his client attacked Murphy, but said he was in a "flight situation" due to his personality disorder and did not know where he was at the time.

The three women were attacked in their homes in Southern California when Gargulo lived nearby and saw their victims. Allerin is known to precede the attacks.

During the punishment phase, Allerin's mother and relatives of other victims also testified.

When he came to know of his daughter's death, Cynthia Allerin said: "I fell to my knees on the floor and crawled around the room like an animal on my hands and knees."

"It hurts for her," Cynthia Allerin said. "It hurts to hug him. It hurts to hear his voice, hug him. But that's not going to happen."

Gargiulo's 16-year-old son also took the stand and asked the jury for mercy and told him that he needed a father who was alive.

After reading the jury's verdict, Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fiedler ordered Gargulo to return for formal sentencing on February 28, when he would also consider a new trial or a lesser sentence.

California has not hanged anyone since 2006, and earlier this year Governor Gavin Newsome stopped the execution while in office.

The courts have moved forward on the notion that the hanging may resume one day.

The case garnered additional attention as regards Kachar, who was a 23-year-old star when he killed Allerin.

He testified in May that he feared to be a suspect after Allerin went home.

Cachar said, "I remember that after hearing about what happened the next day, I went to the detectives and told them: 'I have fingerprints." "It was driving me crazy".

The defense claimed that Alerin had been killed by another man who was romantically related to her and was jealous that he was about to make an appointment with the actor.