Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michael Gargiulo: Alleged Hollywood Ripper

The Interviews

Small quickly determined that the crime hadn't been a sexual assault nor motivated by robbery. Ellerin had been wearing jewelry and a $300 bundle of cash was found in the home. Under her robe, the model had been wearing a bra, boxer-style underwear and a camisole.

Detective Thomas Small
Detective Thomas Small
The windows were locked with security bars and the locked front door was behind a metal screen door. None of these areas had pry marks. Either the killer had a key or Ellerin had invited her killer into the house.

Small immediately began interviewing anyone he could find who knew herno small task. The beautiful young woman had loved parties and was friendly and popular; people had been drawn to her.

"She experimented and ran in circles that the average person wouldn't want to run into," Small said. "She did some things as an adult you wouldn't be proud of. But she was a sweet gal that everybody loved."

His partner, Detective Thomas Chevolek, spoke to Kutcher, who had not called 911 because it had not been apparent that a crime had been committed.

"He said there were no window coverings so he can clearly see into the residence," Chevolek would later testify. "He said the place was in a bit of disarray because she had been painting [the walls] ... so that didn't raise any alerts to him. He saw what he assumed to be red wine on the carpet area that led to her bedroom."

Ellerin's father had been visiting and was helping with her home renovation project. She had dropped him off at the airport at 5:50 p.m. on the day she died. Later that evening, Ellerin had been visited by Mark Durbin, manager of her rental house, who repaired a light fixture. The two had ended up having sex, Durbin later testified.

As he was getting ready to leave around 8:15 p.m., Durbin said, Ellerin asked him not to go because she didn't feel like attending the Grammy party. But Durbin was also involved with someone else, and that woman was due at his house. He locked the front door, looked back through the window, and blew Ellerin a kiss.

Durbin lived in the complex and could see the front of Ellerin's home from his own. An hour later he happened to look out his window and saw a motion sensor light up the walkway in front of Ellerin's home. In the light, Durbin saw a light-haired man about 6 feet tall and 175 pounds walking back and forth, according to court records.

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