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: Delacorte Press
Amazon Price: $24.95
Offers - Buy New From: $7.70 Used From: $2.95
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Editorial Review: In her eagerly awaited first book, Vanity Fair special correspondent Maureen Orth offers a landmark work of investigative journalism--a riveting account of a charming sociopath, his savage crimes, and the mysteries he left along the way.  Revealing the explosive story of Andrew Cunanan and his cross-country killing spree in its entirety, Vulgar Favors is a tale of lurid sex and family secrets, extravagant wealth and exploitative greed, international celebrity and overnight infamy that exposes underworlds all around us while dramatizing the human tragedies that brought them to sudden, shadowed light.

Maureen Orth had just filed a major Vanity Fair story on Andrew Cunanan and his four murder victims when Gianni Versace was murdered in July 1997.  When Miami detectives implicated the suspected serial killer in Versace's death, Orth made news with the startling revelation that the killer--already on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list--wasn't a stranger to the superstar murder victim.  As the world struggled to understand how the focus of a national manhunt could have gunned down a beloved celebrity in broad daylight, Cunanan continued to elude authorities despite steadily mounting pressure from both law enforcement and media.  Cornered in Miami Beach, he escaped captivity only by taking his own life, never revealing what drove him to commit five murders in four states.

Although the media moved on to the next story, and law enforcement agencies have closed their books, Orth continued investigating the killer and his crimes, crossing the country to explore the sometimes extreme, almost parallel universes through which Cunanan moved.  Drawing on hundreds of interviews, unreleased records, and her own incomparable experience in the center of the media maelstrom, Orth now tells the complete story of a twisted killer, his unwitting victims, the moneyed, hedonistic worlds in which they lived and died, the failure of the nation's law enforcement agencies to apprehend the killer, and the mysteries that remain unsolved--if not suppressed--to this day.

From the shadowy, drug-fueled gay underworlds of California to the fiercely protected opulence of Chicago's Miracle Mile, from the midwestern family homes of beloved sons slaughtered in their prime to the glittering celebration of decadence that is Versace's legendary South Beach, Orth takes readers on an eye-opening journey across America at the end of the century--a place where justice can fall between the cracks of jurisdiction, where what passes for truth can be bought and sold, and where an intelligent, unbalanced young man can suddenly erupt, blazing a trail of bloodshed that couldn't hide the untold secrets left in its wake.


My Night with Andrew Cunanan

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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
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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.


Three-Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story

Author: Gary Indiana
Manufacturer: Harper
Amazon Price: $25.00
Offers - Buy New From: $10.94 Used From: $0.99
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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 previuos engagement. Versace's friends no less than Andrew's friends were helpless not to make hay off the carcass, for the narrative itself excluded from existence all relevant persons who failed to appear, to put their two cents in...and because the narrative had the force of a psychic avalanche it provided the seque ferom the previous marrivtie, extricated the public eye form the previous keyhole, the Andrew narrative, in effect, solved the JonBenét Ramsey murder case, as that case had finally wrapped up the O. J. Simpson case, which in turn had closed the Menendez case, the Andrew mystery would ultimately be solved by the death of Princess Di..."
-- from Three Month Fever

In Three Month Fever, his first book-length work of nonfiction, Gary Indiana presents the 1997 killing spree of Andrew Cunanan as a peculiarly contemporary artifact, an alloy in which reality and myth have been inseparably combined. The case generated an astonishing sequence of news reports in which the suspect became a "monster," "serial killer," "high-priced homosexual prostitute," "pervert," "master of disguise," "chameleon," and so forth. In reality, this figure of dread bore little resemblance to the scary sociopath of legend.

In following Cunanan's "trail of death," Indiana presents a riveting, fully realized portrait of a very bright, even brilliant young man whom people liked. He had charisma, great looks, and money that he spent very freely on others. He was a sympathetic listener with a phenomenal memory for names, faces, and virtually anything he read or saw. But he didn't fit in anywhere, and he couldn't solve the problem of how to live.

He was trying to do better, to come from a better place, to have a better background. He made up stories about himself that made him feel more like other people or made him seem more interesting than he thought he was.

He wanted to be loved for himself. The two people he thought might love him for himself didn't, and he ended up killing them. This was probably the last thing he wanted to do.

Andrew was compulsively social, and as long as he could establish some intercourse with the outside world he could function, even if he had to conceal the ugly secrets he was accumulating. He could hang out in gay bars in Chicago while on the run, come to New York and live in a bathhouse, go to movies, pick people up. Even after the killing in New Jersey, his crimes were below the threshold of most people's awareness.

But in Miami he found himself trapped, the very places where he expected to "blend in" were informed about who he was and what he looked like. It was isolation he could not deal with--and that led to his total disintegration and the death of Gianni Versace.

Three Month Fever is a tour de force in which Indiana reveals how Andrew Cunanan fell apart over time and what he might have sounded like in his own mind. Rarely has a writer immersed himself in the mind of a killer with such startling effect. Gary Indiana has created a new form of true crime that is as insightful as it is riveting.


Versace's Medusa: Andrew Cunanan

Author: C.T. Patrick Diamond
Manufacturer: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Amazon Price: $8.50
Offers - Buy New From: $7.34 Used From: $8.26
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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.


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