Andrew Cunanan PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 October 2008 22:32

Andrew Phillip Cunanan

Born: August 31, 1969, Rancho Bernardo, California

Died: July 23, 1997, Miami Beach, Florida

Age: 27

Cause of death: Suicide by gunshot.

Notable because: Handsome gay chap addresses realty of aging and losing his looks by going on killing spree - ending with the murder of Gianni Versace before,  8 days later,  killing himself.


Andrew  Cunanan was an American serial killer who murdered five people, including fashion designer Gianni Versace, in a cross-country journey during a three-month period in 1997, ending with Cunanan's suicide, at the age of 27. On June 12, 1997, Cunanan became the 449th fugitive to be listed by the FBI on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and became the first person from San Diego to be placed on that list.

Born in National City, California, Cunanan graduated from The Bishop's School in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, in 1987.

The first murder was that of his friend Jeffrey Trail, a former US Naval Officer and propane salesman on April 27, 1997, in Minneapolis. The next victim was architect David Madson, who was found on the east shore of Rush Lake near Rush City, Minnesota on April 29, 1997, with gunshot wounds to the head. Police recognized a connection, as Trail's body had been found in Madson's Minneapolis loft apartment.

Cunanan next drove to Chicago and killed prominent real-estate developer Lee Miglin, 72, on May 4, 1997. Five days later Cunanan, who escaped with Miglin's car, found his fourth victim in Pennsville, New Jersey, at the Finn's Point National Cemetery, killing caretaker William Reese, 45, on May 9, 1997. Cunanan apparently killed him for his pickup truck, while leaving Miglin's car behind. Following this murder, the first of a non-acquaintance, the FBI added him to its Ten Most Wanted list.

While the manhunt focused on Reese's truck, Cunanan hid in plain sight in Miami Beach, Florida, for two months between his fourth and fifth murders. He went out mostly to gay nightclubs, and made little attempt to disguise his appearance. He even used his own name to pawn a stolen item, knowing that police routinely check pawn shop records for stolen merchandise. Finally, Cunanan murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace, on July 15, 1997.

Eight days later, on July 23, 1997, Cunanan committed suicide by gunshot in the upstairs bedroom aboard a Miami houseboat apparently to avoid capture by the police, who finally discovered Reese's stolen truck nearby and obtained tips from neighbors that someone resembling Cunanan was living in the houseboat.

The gun used by Cunanan for some of the murders was a Taurus semi-automatic pistol in .40 S&W caliber, which had been left behind in California by first victim Jeff Trail when he relocated to the Midwest.

At the time of the crimes, there was much public and press speculation that Cunanan's motives were tied to a diagnosis of HIV infection; however, an autopsy found him to be HIV-negative. Cunanan was widely reported to have engaged in prostitution with older men,  resulting in media speculation that some of his victims were former clients.

Police searched the houseboat where Cunanan died in order to piece together a motive for his cross-country killing spree. However, Cunanan left behind few personal belongings. This surprised investigators, given his reputation for acquiring money and expensive possessions from wealthy, older men. Police considered few of the findings to be of note, except multiple tubes of hydrocortisone cream and a fairly extensive collection of the fiction of C.S. Lewis.



Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History

Author: Maureen Orth
Manufacturer: Dell
Amazon Price: $7.99
Offers - Buy New From: $4.21 Used From: $3.00
Buy Now
Editorial Review: Two months before Andrew Cunanan murdered Gianni Versace on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion, Maureen Orth was investigating a major story on the serial killer for Vanity Fair. Now the award-winning journalist and Vanity Fair special correspondent tells the complete story of Cunanan, his unwitting victims, and the moneyed, hedonistic world in which they lived and died, culled from interviews with over 400 people, and details from thousands of pages of police reports.

In chilling detail, Maureen Orth reveals how Andrew Cunanan met his superstar victim...why police and the FBI repeatedly failed to catch Cunanan...why other victims' families stonewalled the investigation...controversial findings of the Versace autopsy report, and more. Here is a late-century odyssey that races across America from California's wealthy gay underworld to modest midwestern homes of families mourning their slaughtered sons to the celebration of decadence that is Versace's South Beach. It is at once a landmark work of investigative journalism and a riveting account of a sociopath, his savage crimes, and the mysteries he left along the way.


Mugshots: Andrew Cunanan - The Versace Killer

Amazon Price: $2.96
Offers - Buy New From: $2.96
Buy Now


Three Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents)

Author: Gary Indiana
Manufacturer: Semiotext(e)
Amazon Price: $15.95
Offers - Buy New From: $15.95
Buy Now
Editorial Review:

It was suddenly chic to be "targeted" by Andrew.... It also became chic to claim a deep personal friendship with Versace, to infer that one might, but for a trick of fate, have been with Versace at the very moment of his "assassination," as it had once been chic to reveal one's invitation to Cielo Drive in the evening of the Tate slayings, an invitation only declined because of car trouble or a previous engagement... -- from Three Month Fever

First published in 1999, Gary Indiana's Three Month Fever is the second volume of his famed crime trilogy, now being republished by Semiotext(e). (The first, Resentment, reissued in 2015, was set in a Menendez trial-era L.A.) In this brilliant and gripping hybrid of narrative and reflection, Indiana considers the way the media's hypercoverage transformed Andrew Cunanan's life "from the somewhat poignant and depressing but fairly ordinary thing it was into a narrative overripe with tabloid evil."

"America loves a successful sociopath," Indiana explains. This sardonic and artful reconstruction of the brief life of the party boy who became a media sensation for shooting Gianni Versace is a spellbinding fusion of journalism, social commentary, and novelistic projection. By following Cunanan's notorious "trail of death," Indiana creates a compelling portrait of a brilliant, charismatic young man whose pathological lies made him feel more like other people -- and more interesting than he actually was. Born in a working-class exurb of San Diego and educated at an elite private school, Cunanan strove to "blend in" with the upscale gay male scene in La Jolla. He ended up crazed and alone, eventually embarking on a three-month killing spree that took the lives of five men, including that of Versace, before killing himself in a Miami boathouse, leaving behind a range of unanswerable questions and unsolvable mysteries.

"Gary Indiana belongs to a special breed of American urban writers who take cool pleasure in dissecting the lives of the rich and ugly and is possibly the most jaded chronicler of them all. On a good day, he makes Bret Easton Ellis look like Enid Blyton, yet many, myself included, think he might have already written the Great America Novel(s)." -- Christopher Fowler, The Independent


Andrew Cunanan: Short Spree Killer and Versace Nemesis: Killer Bios, Book 1

Author: A. Biographer
Manufacturer: Locust and Honey Productions
Amazon Price: $3.95
Offers - Buy New From: $3.46
Buy Now
Editorial Review:

In order to understand Cunanan, one needs to see him as a young school boy, smarter than his peers and easily outwitting them to obtain academic attention. While there are many traits which serial killers have in common, Cunanan had his own peculiar branding.


Versace's Medusa: Andrew Cunanan

Author: C.T. Patrick Diamond
Manufacturer: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Amazon Price: $8.50
Offers - Buy New From: $7.40 Used From: $8.26
Buy Now
Editorial Review: The world’s most successful gays are found in California and Florida, as are its most prolific serial killers. This literary thriller takes the form of a memoir in which Gianni Versace’s Great Gatsby life story is cut short by Andrew Cunanan in a scene out of Cruising. The cast includes the exotic poster boy killer with a series of faces, a pair of handsome, star-crossed former lovers, two innocent strangers seized at random, the undisputed Tsar of fashion and gay Baroque design, mysterious sets of HIV-test results, secret societies, suicides, and a frenzied media coverage. The novel retells the story of that murderous spree during the summer of 1997. It dramatically recreates those events and reveals the motivations of the unique serial killer, the celebrity designer, and the mysterious narrator. Set against a background of gay and Art Déco lifestyle in South Beach, Miami, the worlds of high culture and fashion, Calvin Klein underwear models, recreational drug taking, sex (casual, anonymous, consensual non-consent), leather, S&M-B&D, and of HIV-AIDS are explored. Previous serial killers like “The Doodler” and “The Scorecard Killer” are called to account as are those who thank God for HIV/AIDS and believe that gays like devils deserve to be burned. The fear and loathing that fanned the flames in New Orleans that claimed 32 LGBTI victims in 1973 burst back into life when Gianni Versace faced his Medusa, Andrew Cunanan.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 15:08

Add comment

Security code

Who's Online

We have 99 guests online