Who was Andrew Cunanan?
He was on born August 31, 1969 in San Diego, California being raised by a religious mother and prestige-conscious father.
Cunanan was a very intelligent young man, surfacing in his adulthood as an attractive gay man. He usually socialized with much older and wealthier men. From early on, Andrew Cunanan dreamed of living a rich life. By the time he was 21 years old, he spoke multiple languages and was getting used to the things a good life can offer. He is described as someone who often changed his appearance depending on trends he liked and was well knows for his extravagant stories, mostly lies.
He dropped out of the University where he was studying American History and soon after, he settled in San Francisco’s gay Castro district. His early years of a young gay man were soon filled with lies, theft and drug dealing.
How did the killings start?
His first killing happened on April 27, 1997. The victim was Jeffrey Trail, a former US naval officer. Following what is believed it had been an argument between the two, Cunanan beat Trail to death with a claw hammer and left his body rolled in a rug in a closet in a loft-apartment belonging to David Madson, his soon to be second victim.
No one knows exactly what caused him to start committing murders. What it is known is that with some time before that, he was left by one of his old and wealthy partners. He suffered of depression. This could have been his trigger moment for his killing spree.
The Killing Spree
On May 3, 1997 the body of his second victim was discovered on the east shore of Rush Lake near Rush City, Minnesota. The victim was David Madson, a former lover of Andrew‘s.
Cunanan then drove to Chicago, where on May 4, 1997 he killed 72 year old Lee Miglin, a real estate developer. The details of the murder are horrific. Andrew bound Miglin with duct tape on his hands and feet and wrapped around his head. He then proceeded to stab him over 20 times with a screwdriver and eventually had his throat sawed with a hacksaw.
After killing Miglin, he then took his car and searched for his fourth victim, which he found in Pennsville, New Jersey, at the Finn‘s Point National Cemetery. The victim was 45-year old William Reese. Reese died after being shot. After killing Reesem Cunanan stole his red pick-up truck.
By this time he was a clear suspect so the manhunt was focused on the red pick-up truck which he had stolen from his fourth victim. However, he managed to elude the authorities for another two months. Which brought plenty of critiques to the police accused of not being able to reprehend him.
On July 15, 1997 he chose his next victim. The victim was Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace. Versace was shot two times in front of his Miami mansion. There was a witness to the murder who tried to pursue the killer. However he was not able to to catch up on him.
At the time, Versace‘s murder was briefly thought to be an ordered killing. But finding a red pick-ip truck with newspaper clippings about Cunanan‘s murders and a fake passport led police to focus on Cunanan.
|April 27, 1997||Jeffrey Trail||28|
|May 3, 1997||David Madson||33|
|May 4, 1997||Lee Miglin||72|
|May 8, 1997||William Reese||45|
|July 15, 1997||Giani Versace||50|
8 days after shooting Versace, police had surrounded Cunanan on a houseboat in South Florida. Before the authorities could arrest him, Cunanan shot himself, committing suicide.
His killing spree lasted short, but was devastating. The frequency of his killing was just days. As for motive, it was never discovered or confirmed why he started killing. After his death, police discovered nothing that could lead to understanding what his possible motives might have been. Surprisingly enough, known for his extravagant life, he left only a few belongings behind and no note.
It might have been possible that Cunanan started a clean-up of the people he taught might have give him AIDS. However at the autopsy it was revealed that he was not infected. It was actually never confirmed if he personally knew all his victims.