Ashton Kutcher‘s role in a 2001 investigation into the murder of Ashley Ellerin is being dredged up by fans once again amid the backlash the actor is getting following a letter he wrote asking for lighter sentencing for convicted rapist Danny Masterson.
Kutcher and his wife, Mila Kunis, who both starred with Masterson in That ’70s Show, apologized on September 9 after letters they wrote ahead of Masterson’s sentencing were made public. Kunis and Kutcher both praised Masterson, who was convicted of two counts of rape in May, for his “exceptional character” and Kutcher labeled him a “role model.” Masterson was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison last week.
However, as Kutcher continues to face criticism for protecting a convicted rapist from harsh sentencing while also being an advocate for sex trafficking prevention, it is his role in another criminal investigation that is getting called out now.
After the letters were made public, one of Masterson’s accusers took to her social media with a message for Kutcher. Chrissie Carnell Bixler, who dated Masterson in the late 90s and early 2000s, posted an Instagram story that read: “Dear Ashton, I know the secrets your ‘role model’ keeps for you. Ones that would end you. Did you forget I was there? You were on speaker phone that night you called Danny on February 21, 2001. I hear everything. I heard the plan. In my opinion, you’re just as sick as your ‘mentor.’”
Speculation soon began about what Kutcher did on February 21, 2001 and internet users soon noted that that date is the day Ashley Ellerin was tragically murdered.
What was Ashton Kutcher’s role in Ashley Ellerin’s murder investigation?
Kutcher was a witness in the trial of Ellerin’s murderer and testified that he was scheduled to go on a date with Ellerin on the night of her murder — February 21, 2001.
In 2019, Kutcher told a jury in the trial of Michael Gargiulo, the man later convicted of Ellerin’s murder, that he last talked to Ellerin at 8:24 PM to confirm their plans to attend a Grammys after-party together, according to E! News.
The actor said he called again at 10:00 PM to say he was on his way over to Ellerin’s home but she did not answer. Kutcher claimed that at 10:45 PM he arrived she did not come to the door. He claimed he peered into her window and saw what he believed to be a wine stain on her carpet.
“He believed at that point he had been stood up,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon said in his opening statement at the trial. “We believe now the evidence will show that was actually blood, and Ashley had already been murdered.”
Ellerin, 22, was found dead the following morning by her roommate. Investigators believe she had just gotten out of the shower when Gargiulo stabbed her to death after entering her home. Gargiulo, who has been dubbed “The Hollywood Ripper” was sentenced to death for the murder of Ellerin and another California woman in 2005. He is awaiting trial for the 1993 murder of a teenage girl in Illinois, per ABC. He was arrested after the attempted murder of another woman in California in 2008.
Ellerin and Kutcher met through mutual friends in December 2000. He says he was at Ellerin’s home for a housewarming weeks before her murder and the two arranged to get dinner and drinks on the night of her murder.
Despite admitting that he was initially “freaked out” after learning of Ellerin’s death because his fingerprints were on her doorknob, Kutcher was never a suspect in the case and appears to have cooperated with the investigation.
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