Michael Gargiulo: The serial killer next door?
Michael Gargiulo has spent more than four years in the Los Angeles County Jail awaiting trial.
During that time he has had several meetings with a "48 Hours Mystery" producer to consider the possibility of an on-camera interview, all of those meetings were recorded by the jail.
"My truth is being 100 percent innocent, being wrongfully charged," Gargiulo said on Feb. 12, 2009.
Gargiulo would not discuss any of the charges against him, but it's clear from these recordings given to "48 Hours Mystery" by authorities that he is convinced jail is the last place he belongs.
"Like, everything good about me and the fair person that I am, and everything, is-- is not even out there, and that's just wrong," he said on Nov. 16, 2010.
"In 30 years of being in law enforcement have you ever dealt with someone like this?" Maureen Maher asks Det. Mark Lillienfeld.
"No. He's pretty remarkable," he replies. "I've met some sick puppies and some unique people and some brilliant people ... but I've never met anybody quite like Mike Gargiulo."While the investigators in California are sure they've got their man, there is still one troubling question that concerns them greatly.
"Do you think there are other victims out there?" Maureen Maher asked.
"I think there's a very real chance," said Det. Tom Small.
"We've got evidence, some statements from Mr. Gargiulo and from other statements that indicate that... 10 might be the magic number," said Lillienfeld.
"We know that Michael Gargiulo traveled a little bit - between Illinois and California," Small explained. "We would certainly love to hear from investigators or other witnesses, people that have knowledge that maybe knew him or ran into him, at some point."
In the mean time, with Gargiulo finally behind bars, Los Angeles investigators will wait for justice to run its course.
Asked what he's hoping for, Det. Small said, "whole nine yards, whatever the jury finds appropriate."
"The whole nine yards in this state is the death penalty," Maher pointed out.
But for the Pacaccios, that won't be nearly enough.
"If he's convicted of murder in California, even if he is sentenced to die, is that enough for you?" Maher asked Rick Pacaccio.
"No," he replied.
"I'm happy that the DNA off of my sister is helping these other families," Doug Pacaccio said. "But at the same time, it's not good enough for that to stop there. It's not fair to her. And this man needs to be held accountable for what he did."
Since this story first aired, there has been a remarkable development in the Tricia Pacaccio murder investigation.
While watching that episode of "48 Hours Mystery," a viewer -- who years earlier had worked with Michael Gargiulo at a Los Angeles nightclub -- remembered that Gargiulo had once bragged to him and others that he had killed a young woman in Chicago. "48 Hours Mystery" put that witness, along with another co-worker, in touch with Chicago authorities and shortly thereafter, a Cook County grand jury finally indicted Michael Gargiulo for Tricia's murder.
Cook County press conference: "Late yesterday we filed a criminal complaint in court charging Michael Gargiulo with first degree murder in the brutal slaying of Pacaccio."
It was an announcement the Pacaccio family had been waiting 18 years to hear... certainly welcome news and yet bittersweet.
"For me ...the witnesses coming forward to '48 Hours' after the show -- was the first step. And then getting it to the police and having them validate the claim is when we really started to feel a sense of accomplishment," said Doug. "It doesn't take away the pain, but there is some sense of relief -- not closure yet. ...It's a start. And that's all it is, it's a start."
"Do you have hope at this point, he will see a day in court here?"
"I wouldn't say hope, I would say, I have the -- tenacity to keep goin' after 'em until it does happen," said Rick.
"You're not going to give up?"
"I'm not gonna give up, no. My daughter is gonna get the representation that she deserves," he said.
"It's not over," Doug Pacaccio said. "...it'll never be over for -- for the victims. It'll never be over for the victims' families. The only thing that's over is he's off the streets. And young women can sleep a little better at night."
Prosecutors are hoping to have Michael Gargiulo's trial for the murders of Ashley Ellerin and Maria Bruno in court before the end of the year. He is now acting as his own attorney.
If convicted, he will face the death penalty.
Regardless of the outcome in Los Angeles, Chicago prosecutors intend to try Gargiulo in Illinois.
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