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Jury Finds 'Hollywood Ripper' Michael Gargiulo Sane During Murders

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The man known as the "Hollywood Ripper" was found Thursday by a jury to have been sane when he murdered two women and tried to kill a third.

The decision came one week after Michael Gargiulo was found guilty of murdering two women in the Los Angeles area, one of whom was killed on the night she was set to go on a date with actor Ashton Kutcher. The jury also found that Gargiulo was guilty of trying to kill a third woman, attempting to escape from jail and the jurors found true special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder while lying in wait.

Jurors are due back in court Sept. 9 for the start of the penalty phase of the trial. At that time, the jury will be asked whether it would recommend the 43-year-old man be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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In his closing argument of the sanity phase of the trial, Deputy District Attorney Garrett Dameron said Gargiulo was "not normal," but added that "evil does not mean insane." The prosecutor said the attacks were "calculated," "planned" and "meticulously carried out," calling them "systematic murders done by someone who enjoyed the act itself."

Dameron reminded the jury that an expert retained for the prosecution said Gargiulo suffered only from antisocial personality disorder, and he disputed a defense expert's testimony that Gargiulo suffered from dissociative identity disorder — which the defense said could have caused Gargiulo to go into an "amnesiac" state.

Dale Rubin, one of Gargiulo's attorneys, showed the jury photos of the murder victims' bloody bodies on a large screen in the courtroom.

"The question becomes, can a legally sane person do this? Can this end result be done by a legally sane person? And we believe the answer is no," Rubin said.

Had Gargiulo been found insane, he would have been sent to a state mental hospital.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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