Andrew Cunanan was a serial killer from California who would murder five men before ending his own life including fashion designer Gianni Versace. In this article on My Crime Library we will take a closer look at serial killer Andrew Cunanan
Andrew Cunanan Background
Andrew Cunanan was born in National City California on August 31, 1969 to parents Modesto “Pete” Cunanan and Mary Anne Schillaci. Andrew’s father was in the United Stats Navy at the time of his birth.
Andrew Cunanan would be remembered as a very smart and talkative young man during his school days. Andrew who would identify as gay during high school preferred to date older men who could financially take care of him. Cunanan was also remembered as a prolific liar who constantly changed his appearance.
When Andrew Cunanan was nineteen years old his father would desert the family and head back to the Philippines to evade arrest for embezzlement. After high school Andrew would enroll in College at UC San Diego however he would soon drop out and move to San Francisco
Cunanan would continue to date older wealthy men and began to create violent pornography. Andrew would also begin to abuse painkillers and alcohol. After a relationship ended Cunanan would sell drugs to support himself and his drug abuse continued to worsen
In April 1997 Andrew Cunanan would fly to Minnesota and soon after the murders would begin
Andrew Cunanan Murders
- Jeffrey Trail would be murdered on August 27, 1997. Andrew Cunanan and Trail were close friends that had a falling out in the weeks prior. Cunanan would go over to the home of Trail, and the two would have an argument and Cunanan would steal his gun. Cunanan would call Jeffrey Trail from David Madison apartment and told Trail to come and get his gun. When Trail arrived he would be beaten to death with a hammer while David Madison watched. The body of Jeffrey Trail would be found days later
- David Madison would be murdered a few days after Trail. David would spend the next few days with Andrew Cunanan as the two were witnessed together in the building elevator. David Madison body would be found with several gunshot wounds including to the back and head
- On May 4, 1997 Andrew Cunanan would travel to Chicago and murder 72 year old Lee Miglin. Cunanan would murder the elderly man by stabbing him multiple times and slitting his throat with a hacksaw blade. Lee Miglin had been bound with duct tape. Cunanan would steal a Lexus belonging to Miglin and left another vehicle belonging to Madison on the street.
- On May 9, 1997 Andrew Cunanan would arrive in New Jersey where he would murder William Reese at the Finn’s Point National Cemetery. William Reese would be shot in the head by the same gun that killed David Madison. Andrew would steal Reese’s truck and begin to drive to Florida
- On July 15, 1997 Andrew Cunanan would murder Gianni Versace on the steps of Versace mansion in Miami Beach Florida. Versace would be shot several times with the same gun to murder Reese and Madison. When police would arrive on the scene they would find Reese’s truck that contained newspaper articles and clothes belonging to Cunanan
Andrew Cunanan Aftermath
Andrew Cunanan who had made the FBI Most Wanted list following the murder of William Reese would be tracked to a houseboat on July 23, 1997 after a custodian heard gunshots. When authorities arrived they would find the body of Andrew Cunanan who had fatally shot himself in the head. Cunanan did not leave behind a suicide note
The motives behind Andrew Cunanan killings have never been made clear. Many believed that Cunanan tested HIV Positive and that was the reason behind the murders however Andrew tested negative.
Andrew Cunanan More News
Around 8:45 on the morning of July 15, 1997, international fashion designer Gianni Versace returned home to his Miami Beach mansion on Ocean Drive following a walk to a local café.
Suddenly, a man approached Versace, pulled out a pistol, and killed him with two shots to the back of his head. The man fled—followed at a distance by at least one witness—and disappeared into a nearby parking garage.
Miami Beach homicide detectives soon asked for assistance from the FBI’s local field office in the city. The officers were concerned that the killing might be a murder-for-hire, but evidence quickly suggested that it wasn’t. Inside the parking garage identified by the witness was a red pickup truck linked to a murder in New Jersey and a man named Andrew Phillip Cunanan, the target of an ongoing manhunt.
Andrew Cunanan was a 27-year-old college dropout from California. He was highly intelligent, spoke two languages, and since his teenage years had sought to live a life of riches and comfort. He had supplemented his earnings from an odd job here and there by serving as a male prostitute and engaging in longer-term liaisons with older homosexuals who would shower him with gifts and cash.
For reasons that remain unclear, Andrew Cunanan had begun a murderous spree in late April 1997. First, he bludgeoned a former naval officer to death with a hammer in Minneapolis. A few days later, he shot and killed an architect and dumped his body near East Rush Lake in Minnesota. Both men were his long-time associates. In May, Cunanan targeted a stranger—a 72-year-old real estate developer—in Chicago. Cunanan stole the man’s car, and, less than a week later, murdered a cemetery worker in New Jersey. He then took that victim’s red truck and drove to Miami.
Throughout this time, authorities were putting together the pieces. The investigation and forensic work linked the Chicago murder and the others to Andrew Cunanan. On May 7, the FBI joined the search for Cunanan and quickly marshaled its resources to identify and interview his friends, family, and other contacts. The New Jersey murder made it clear Cunanan was moving across the country, and gay groups were especially concerned that he might insinuate himself into their circles and continue to commit murders. The New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project posted a large reward and sought to warn those who might know Cunanan.
Working with the television show America’s Most Wanted, the FBI made Andrew Cunanan the 449th addition to its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on June 12, 1997. Our offices in Minnesota, California, Illinois, New Jersey, and elsewhere continued to seek information about him. The Bureau also publicized a telephone tip line and disseminated details on the FBI’s public website. But Cunanan slipped under the radar.
With the murder of Gianni Versace, though, the net began to close. Eight days later, on July 23, 1997, the caretaker of a houseboat about two miles north of Versace’s house in Miami Beach reported hearing a gunshot. Responders found Cunanan dead from a self-inflicted wound. His killing spree was over.