So… this blog is gonna be about another case that really fascinates me. It’s another case that shocked the world when it happened, and even causes some buzz to this day. This blog- this case is about Andrew Cunanan- and the five lives he took during a three-month period in mid-1997.
This case was thrust in the spotlight- especially on July 15th, 1997. But, before we get to that point, I want to start at the beginning. All cases have a beginning.
Andrew Phillip Cunanan was born on August 31st, 1969 in National City, California, to Modesto “Pete” Cunanan and Mary Anne Schillaci. Before Andrew was born, Modesto and Mary had three other children- Christopher, Elena and Regina. Although he was Filipino, Modesto served in the US Navy in the Vietnam War at the time of Andrew’s birth. After serving as chief petty officer for some time, Modesto left the military and eventually found work as a stockbroker.
During Andrew’s childhood; he lived with his family in National City and attended Bonita Vista Middle School. At school, he was remembered as being bright and talkative, and testing with an IQ of 147.
In 1980, Modesto moved the whole family to a brand spankin’ new home in San Diego. Shortly thereafter, in 1981, Modesto enrolled Andrew to The Bishop’s School- which is an independent day school located in the affluent La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. Now, it’s important to note that Modesto and Mary didn’t enroll their other three children to this affluent school. Just Andrew. He was the youngest, and the apple of Modesto’s eye, after all. According to Andrew’s brother Christopher, who spoke to Diane Sawyer in a 1997 interview for ABC News, Andrew was his father’s “pride and joy” and was raised with “special treatment.” Andrew’s sister, Elena, told Diane Sawyer (I’m assuming this is the same interview) “He got everything he needed. My dad gave him a sports car. He (slept alone in) the master bedroom. He had his own bath and everything.”
I feel like I should clarify. Andrew was enrolled at Bishop’s School during his high school years. According to a classmate who spoke to People in 1997, Andrew was shamelessly flamboyant in school, was “well-liked”, but he “put on airs.” As a teenager, Andrew developed a reputation as a prolific liar- and known to tell tales about his family and personal life. He would say that his family was wealthy, and came from rich parts of the world. He would exaggerate on some things that were true. Cunanan learned early on that he was able to get attention by being charming and persuasive with his outrageous behavior. He realized it was also possible to elicit the reactions out of others that he wanted and take advantage of their perception of him through boasting about a fake fantasy life. Andrew identified as gay in High School, and began having liasons with wealthy or rich older men. He was voted Most Likely to be Remembered shortly before he graduated. And dare I say- remembered he is. After graduating from High School, in 1987, Andrew enrolled at the University of California, San Diego, and majored in American History.
Now… this is when things get interesting. I’m just gonna call it like I see it (or read it rather) but Modesto was a shady businessman who faced arrest for allegedly pocketing around $100,000 in a fraudulent business deal. (The real amount is not known, but it’s been speculated that the money stolen accumulated to $100,000.) Lemme catch you up- in 1988 when Andrew was 19, Modesto deserted his family and moved to the Philippines to evade arrest for embezzlement. Mary later said in the divorce papers that her husband fled to the Philippines to escape arrest, leaving the family practically destitute. Modesto had secretly sold the house weeks earlier, so he also left his family homeless. It’s been said, or assumed by those close to Andrew, that this had a dramatic effect on him. At some point during his freshman year at the university, Andrew dropped out and travelled to the Philippines to see his father. According to The San Diego Tribune, Andrew stayed for a month- trying to get his father to either come back to the States, or to at least give him and his family some money. Unfortunately, his father betrayed him for the second time. Andrew left, and later described “deplorable” living conditions to relatives. It seemed like once he got back, he wanted to hide the truth about his father. From then on he told friends that his father was a wealthy man who worked in Europe or in South America.
After arriving back to the States, Andrew began frequenting local gay clubs and restaurants. This posed a big problem in Mary’s eyes. You see, Mary was deeply religious. Once she learned of her youngest son’s sexual preference, Mary confronted Andrew. This led to an argument, and it was during this argument that Andrew threw his mother against a wall, dislocating her shoulder. She never really confronted Andrew about his sexual orientation again. In fact- she allegedly seemed to give him more attention, and dote him more, maybe to mask her own feelings about the situation. Like her son, she was hiding her feelings by indulging in her son’s wants and needs. Later examinations of Andrew’s behavior (the violence towards his mother) indicated that Andrew might have suffered from antisocial personality disorder, characterized by a lack of remorse and empathy.
In 1989, Andrew settled in the Castro District of San Francisco, a center of the LGBTQ culture. He moved in with longtime and good friend, Elizabeth Cote and her boyfriend, Phil Merrill. During that time frame, Andrew continued his practice of befriending wealthy older men, but also reportedly began creating violent pornography. He socialized in well-to-do neighborhoods, “apparently living off the largesse of one wealthy patron or another.” Andrew is also believed to have been dealing drugs including prescription opioids, cocaine and marijuana. He used several aliases: Andrew DeSilva, Lt. Cmdr. Andy Cummings, Drew Cunningham and Curt Matthew Demaris. Andrew was also adept at changing his appearance according to what he felt was most attractive at a given moment.
Now, allegedly, Andrew first saw fashion designer Gianni Versace in San Francisco in October 1990. Versace was in town to fit the costumes he had designed for the San Francisco Opera production of Richard Strauss’ opera Capriccio. It’s important to note that the Versace family has always denied that Gianni ever met Andrew Cunanan.
Andrew Cunanan and Jeffrey Trail met sometime in late 1992, or early 1993. Jeffrey Trail was serving on the USS Gridley, a Navy cruiser docked in San Diego around the time the two met. At this point in Trail’s life, he was struggling with his sexuality. I take that back. Trail knew he was gay, but the military forbade homosexual people from serving. (Does Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell sound familiar?) It was also around this time frame that Trail took part in a 48 Hours interview. (Although, he was blacked out so audiences couldn’t see his face.) In that interview, Trail discussed being closeted in the military. He told reporter Richard Schlesinger, “Whether people like it or not, there are gays in the military. They’re very top-notch performers. They know what they’re doing.” ; “You’re gonna weaken our national defense if you remove gays from the military. And you’ll never be able to do it 100 percent. It’s just whether or not you’re gonna continue to hunt us and force us to fear.” According to Maureen Orth, who wrote the book titled Vulgar Favors– which is based on Andrew’s childhood, and murders- when Jeff Trail met Andrew, he “was in awe of the utter flamboyance and ease with which Andrew handled his sexual orientation.”
Remember how I wrote that Andrew liked to tell tall tales when he was a teen? Well… Andrew used to recruit Trail to vouch for his lies. For example, in an effort to impress guests at his own 26th birthday party, Andrew gave Trail a box containing Ferragamo shoes and told Trail to pretend they were his birthday gift to him. He also gave Trail his own pair of Ferragamo shoes to wear, and asked him to pose as a doctor for the evening. Although both men were in fact gay, Orth reports in Vulgar Favors that “almost everyone who knew (Andrew & Jeff) insists they never had a sexual relationship.” In fact, Andrew frequently set Trail up with other men.
Some of Trail’s friends didn’t like Andrew. Two friends of Trail’s- Chris Gamache and her partner Judy Fleissner, told Orth that they had told Trail, “You need to get this guy out of here. He’s a jerk and an idiot.” But Trail, for the most part, staunchly defended Andrew. Additionally, friends observed Andrew often tried to emulate Trail. One of Jeffrey’s sisters- Lisa, told the New York Times in July 1997, “When Jeff got a haircut, Andrew had to have the exact same haircut. When Jeff went to San Francisco and got a certain baseball cap, Andrew had to go to San Francisco and get the very same cap. When Jeff grew a goatee, Andrew grew a goatee.
Norman Blachford “dated” Andrew Cunanan sometime between 1994 and 1996. All the details of their partnership remain murky, but you can make your own speculation based on what I’m about to report. Blachford was a retired multi-millionaire when he and Andrew were introduced by Andrew’s previous companion, Lincoln Aston. Blachford’s long term partner had recently died of AIDS when he met Andrew, according to Vulgar Favors. So, you can say that Andrew’s timing couldn’t have been better for meeting the then 58 year old conservative and reserved Blachford. Shortly after Lincoln had introduced Andrew to Blachford, Aston was bludgeoned to death by a “mentally troubled loner.” (I haven’t found any reports that Andrew was ever charged with Aston’s murder.) Andrew would later convince Blachford to purchase the home Aston previously lived in. Both Andrew and Blachford were reticent regarding the nature of their relationship. It was kind of like the secret everyone knew about. Blachford would claim that Andrew “was his decorator” or just a friend helping him pick out art, and Andrew would tell his friends that Blachford was “an old man” or a “friend of the family.” However, those close to Andrew knew he was living with Blachford. Orth posted in her book that Blachford was aware that Andrew was with him for financial security and went so far as to recommend he go back to school. Blachford gave Andrew a taste of the high-life. The Washington Post reported that Blachford financed Andrew on an allowance of $2,500 a month including a 1996 Infiniti I20T, frequent trips to NYC to see Broadway shows, and vacations to Paris and the south of France.
Andrew Cunanan and David Madson met in November 1995. According to Vanity Fair, Andrew was dining with friends at a restaurant in San Francisco when he spotted Madson (a Minneapolis architect) drinking alone. Andrew then invited him to join their group. Later, the two had a “nonsexual sleepover” in Andrew’s room at the Mandarin Oriental (hotel). Madson had a very attractive personality- which drew Andrew in. It was the first time in Andrew’s life that he was really and truly attracted to someone. All of his other conquests were for money, or for exposure. David Madson was different to Andrew Cunanan. Those who were close to Madson gushed about his personality to the press. His boss described him to the Washington Post as “enormously charming” and “full of energy and enthusiasm and joy of life,” while friends told Orth for Vulgar Favors that he was “so charismatic that he blew people away.” A college friend named Wendy Peterson told Orth, “I think people always wanted to be around him because of the electrifying magnetism of his personality.” Andrew and David dated long distance for several months. Andrew was very secretive with Madson. According to Vulgar Favors, Madson had no idea where Andrew lived, and Cunanan often changed his phone number, citing his wealthy family’s need for privacy as the reason. In reality, Andrew was likely just hiding his relationship with David from Blachford, who was bankrolling Andrew’s lavish lifestyle. Orth reports that David Madson was often frustrated with Andrew’s deflections. According to Vulgar Favors, Madson would often visit Andrew in San Francisco, where Andrew would pay for him to stay in a hotel. In April 1996, Andrew made his first trip to Minneapolis, and these trips would continue even after Madson and Cunanan broke up, especially once Jeffrey Trail moved to Minnesota. (I’ll get to that in a second!)
In May 1996- during one of Madson’s trips to visit Andrew in San Francisco, a friend of Andrew’s told David to be wary of Andrew’s lies. “Andrew is a pathological liar,” the friend told Madson, according to Vulgar Favors. “It’s crazy. You don’t know who he is. Don’t put anything you’re not prepared to lose in that basket.” Even Jeffrey Trail eventually warned David Madson about Andrew. At one point, Trail warned David, “You can’t believe a word he (Andrew) says. He’ll say anything just to get a reaction.”
Cunanan and Madson broke up in July of 1996. According to Vulgar Favors, Madson wanted Andrew to be honest and open- something that Andrew could not do. The last straw came when Andrew promised David that he’d come and spend the Fourth of July weekend with him. Ultimately, the Fourth came and went, and Andrew had bailed on David. In the weeks after Andrew and David’s break up, Andrew sought solace in his friendship with Trail. According to Vulgar Favors, Andrew even gushed to Trail’s then-boyfriend about David, calling him, “the love of my life, the man I want to marry.” According to Vanity Fair, Andrew kept a photo of Madson on his refrigerator. Allegedly, Andrew proposed to David sometime between Valentine’s Day and Easter of 1997. (Almost a whole year after the break-up.) Orth reports in Vulgar Favors that months after Madson and Andrew broke up, Andrew told one of his friends in San Diego that David had denied his proposal.
In September 1996, Andrew broke up with Norman Blachford. Although Andrew told several friends that the relationship ended over Norman’s lack of generosity (according to the LA Times, Blachford denied Andrew a Mercedes), it seems it was really because Andrew grew so obsessed with trying to win David Madson back.
In November 1996, Trail moved from San Diego to Minneapolis for a new job, according to the New York Times. Because Madson already lived in the Midwestern city, he met up with Trail and the two formed a friendly bond.
Andrew continued visiting Madson in Minneapolis after the two broke up. Andrew used Trail moving to Minneapolis as an excuse to pursue Madson with more force. According to Madson’s friend Wendy Petersen, “From my understanding, Andrew would come to town unannounced. He would barge in and put himself in David’s presence, and David would not be comfortable.” Madson eventually moved on from Andrew, and began dating other men, but that didn’t deter Andrew. According to Vulgar Favors, in a particularly heated moment at a November 1996 party at Madson’s apartment in Minneapolis, Madson’s then-boyfriend, Rob Davis, got tired of Andrew’s pursuit. He pushed Andrew against a wall, and told him, “I understand you’re excessive. I’m not gonna have you pressing up against my man. While I’m here, you respect my presence or you won’t be here.”
Between all the lies and secrecy- and Andrew’s almost constant habit of showing up unannounced and imposing on Trail’s hospitality, Jeffrey wanted to cut Andrew out of his life. This was a long time coming. By July 1996, according to Vulgar Favors, Trail was tired of Andrew’s erratic and ostentatious behavior. Daniel O’Toole, Trail’s then-boyfriend told Orth, “I don’t recall a time I knew Jeff when he was comfortable with Andrew, when Jeff and Andrew were really close.” Some of Trail’s friends theorize that Andrew, who dealt and consumed drugs, tried to get Trail involved in his business, which just evidently pushed Trail further away. Trail told his former roommate- Michael Williams, that Andrew had resumed selling drugs- and likely began to indulge more frequently, especially with methamphetamine. This was all likely due to the fact that Andrew no longer had access to Blachford’s money, since he maxed out all of his credit cards.
By April 1997, friends reported Cunanan was abusing painkillers and was drinking alcohol “like there was no tomorrow.” Later that month, Andrew told his friends he was leaving San Diego for Minneapolis to “take care of some business matter” with Trail, who had recently distanced himself from Andrew. Before Andrew’s visit, Trail told his sister that he “did not want Andrew to come.” A week before his death, Trail told Williams that he had a “huge falling out” with Andrew and said, “I made a lot of enemies this weekend… I’ve got to get out of here. They’re going to kill me.”
On April 24th, 1997, Andrew and four of his friends attended a going-away party at Hillcrest’s California Cuisine, a rare occasion when Andrew did not cover the tab. He had reached the credit limit on both of his credit cards, and had to ask for a credit extension to afford his plane ticket to Minneapolis.
On April 25th, 1997, upon arriving in Minneapolis, David Madson met Andrew at the airport, although notably reluctant in having to pick Andrew up. That night, Cunanan and Madson dined at Nye’s Restaurant and visited The Gay 90’s nightclub. At dinner that night, Andrew encouraged Madson to show off the new Cartier watch Cunanan had just gifted him to all of Madson’s friends. Andrew stayed with David at David’s loft apartment.
On April 26th, 1997, Andrew made his way to Trail’s apartment- and stayed the night there. Trail was out of town with his boyfriend, Jon Hackett. From what I’ve gathered, it’s hard to tell if Trail knew that Andrew stayed at his apartment. Although, based on how Trail was feeling towards Andrew at that point of time, it’s unlikely that Trail would have allowed Cunanan to stay at his apartment alone voluntarily, but… you never know.
On April 27th, 1997, upon arriving back into town, Trail told Hackett that he needed to have a “pretty important” conversation with Andrew. When Trail and Hackett later arrived at Trail’s apartment, there was no sign of Andrew or any of his belongings- but seemingly, Trail’s gun was missing. Andrew Cunanan had made his way back to David Madson’s apartment and phoned Trail that he should come by David’s place so they could have a conversation, and so Trail could retrieve his gun. Trail left his apartment to see Andrew shortly after 9 p.m. and was likely let into Madson’s apartment at 9:45 p.m. Upon his arrival, Trail was met by Cunanan. Out of nowhere, Andrew began to beat Trail to death with a hammer, in front of Madson. 33-year old Madson was trapped in his own apartment with Trail’s body and with Andrew Cunanan. Authorities believe Madson remained in his apartment with Andrew two days after Jeff was murdered, as one neighbor witnessed both men in the apartment elevator on April 28th, and another neighbor witnessed the pair walking Madson’s dog (early) on April 29th.
On April 29th, 1997, one of Madson’s coworkers grew concerned when David failed to show up to work. The coworkers were so concerned, that they visited his apartment to check up on him. They discovered Trail’s body rolled in a rug and placed behind a sofa. Trail’s watch had stopped at 9:55 p.m, which led authorities to believe that was the time of his death.
On May 2nd, 1997, Madson and Andrew were seen north of Minneapolis, driving in Madson’s Jeep and eating lunch together in a bar.
On May 3rd, 1997, Madson’s body was found on the east shore of Rush Lake near Rush City, Minnesota with gunshot wounds to the head and back from a .40-caliber Taurus PT100 semi-automatic pistol. It was the same pistol that Andrew had swiped from Trail’s apartment.
Before I continue on, I want to note that the next murder is controversial, due to the fact that the victim’s family whole heartedly and vociferously denies that the victim knew Andrew Cunanan. Will we ever find out the truth? Maybe, maybe not.
Lee Miglin was an American business tycoon and philanthropist. After starting his career as a door-to-door salesman and then broker, Miglin became a successful real estate developer. In 1959, Miglin married 20-year-old Marilyn Klecka. Klecka, a successful entrepreneur herself, is/was known as the Queen of Makeovers. She established a prominent perfume and cosmetics company and is/was a celebrity on the Home Shopping Network. Miglin and Marilyn had two children together- Marlena (born 1968) and Duke (born 1971).
You’re probably wondering- What in the hell does this have to do with Andrew? Well, it’s partially difficult to say. Because again, the family denies that Miglin knew Andrew. But on May 4th, 1997, Miglin was found murdered. His body was found in the garage of his home in Chicago’s Gold Coast Historic District. He had been bound at the wrists, and his head was bound with tape, with only a breathing space under his nostrils. He had been tortured with a saw and a screwdriver and his ribs had been broken. Miglin had also been beaten and stabbed- more than twenty times, and his throat had been slashed with a gardener’s bow saw. Andrew then took off in Miglin’s 1994 green Lexus LS sedan. Maureen Orth speculated in her book that Miglin may have been a closested gay or bisexual man in a secret relationship with Andrew. This would explain why Andrew murdered Lee Miglin. Former FBI agent Gregg McCrary has argued it’s unlikely that Andrew would have bound and tortured Lee Miglin without some motive. Perhaps even more mysterious than the murder scene, was the conditon of the Miglin’s home when Marilyn returned to it. (Marilyn was out of town for work when the murder occurred.) According to Orth, the murderer had slept in the Miglin’s bed, eaten a ham sandwich in the library, shaved in the bathroom, and bathed in the bathtub. The killer, it appeared, had been in no hurry to leave the home- and when he did, he is said to have helped himself to as much as $10,000 in cash and several of his victim’s suits. These details, along with the fact that Lee Miglin did not have defensive wounds and there were no signs of forced entry in the home, suggested that Miglin knew his killer. In her book Vulgar Favors, Orth included more details about the crime scene. A tube of hydrocortisone cream was found under Miglin’s body; he was wearing Calvin Klein bikini underwear; his jeans had an open zipper; and he had on just one Ferragamo black suede shoe. His ankles were bound by an orange extension cord, his chest was weighed down by two bags of cement, and “the wrapping of Miglin’s face resembled the latex masks Andrew seemed so intrigued with from watching S&M pornography.” In the aftermath of the murder, reporters and authorities tried to find a link between Miglin, who appeared to have been happily married for nearly 40 years, and Andrew. Cunanan, remember, had a history of being “kept” by wealthy older boyfriends, and was rumored to have worked as an escort. Was Miglin one of the men Cunanan rendez-vous-ed with during his days on the “sugar daddy” circuit? Again, it’s something we may never find out for certain. In the aftermath of the murder, Marilyn, worked through her grief by throwing herself back into work- appearing on the Home Shopping Network just three weeks after the funeral. “I just agonized over it, but I was determined to not let adversity affect my life, so I got on that plane feeling more alone than I ever felt in my entire life… I decided that I would hide in front of the camera.” Marilyn told the press in 1998, explaining why she returned to work so quickly.
You’re probably wondering- Well, how did investigators know that Andrew killed Lee Miglin? Well, I’ll tell you! David Madson’s red jeep was parked on the street near Miglin’s house. Investigators already knew at this point that Andrew had murdered David Madson and Jeffrey Trail. Miglin’s Lexus was equipped with a car phone, which, according to Ameritech Cellular records, was activated on May 4th in Union County, Pennsylvania. Authorities began monitoring the phone’s activity and found it was also activated on May 8th in Philadelphia, and again on May 9th near Penns Grove and Carney’s Point, New Jersey.
On the evening of May 9th, a woman by the name Rebecca Reese realized that her husband, 45-year-old William Reese did not make it home for dinner. She visited the cemetery in Pennsville Township, New Jersey (Finn’s Point National Cemetery) where her husband worked (he was the caretaker) to check on him. She found the caretaker’s office door ajar with the radio playing inside. She then called the police who later found Reese shot in the head by the same Taurus pistol that Andrew had used to kill David Madson. Unlike Andrew’s other victims, whom he killed for seemingly personal reasons, authorities believe Andrew murdered Reese simply for his 1995 red Chevrolet pickup truck. Cunanan used this truck to flee for Florida. Many believe that Andrew learned that he was being trailed by the authorities by use of the car phone in Miglin’s Lexus, so Andrew took it upon himself to commit his fourth murder.
On May 12th, 1997, Andrew began staying at the Normandy Plaza Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, where he paid $29 a night in cash. On June 12th, he was (finally) listed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. While the manhunt unsuccessfully focused on Reese’s stolen truck that Andrew was using, the killer “hid in plain sight” for two months. Andrew used his own name to pawn a stolen item on July 7th, despite knowing full well that police routinely review pawn shop records. On July 14th, seemingly out of money, Andrew checked out of his hotel without paying for his last night there.
Gianni Versace woke up on the morning of July 15th- and went about his normal business. He seemingly got out of bed, walked downstairs and greeted his waitstaff and (might have) had breakfast on the back patio overlooking the spacious pool that accompanied the mansion. After eating, Gianni dressed in white shorts and a black t-shirt and went on a walk. On this walk, he purchased a couple magazines, and picked up some coffee for himself from the News Cafe. This was seemingly a normal routine for Gianni. As he headed back to his mansion in Miami Beach, he had no idea what- or who- was waiting in the shadows for him. At 8:45 a.m, Andrew watched Gianni begin to walk up the steps to Casa Casuarina. Andrew took out the Taurus pistol- the same one that was used on Madson and Reese- and shot 50-year-old Gianni Versace once in the back of the head, and once in the left cheek. The murder was witnessed by Versace’s former UK senior stylist, Dean Aslett. He pursued Andrew, but was unable to catch him as he fled into a nearby parking garage. Versace was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital at 9:20 a.m. Responding police (finally) found Reese’s stolen vehicle in that same parking garage where Andrew took shelter shortly after murdering Versace. Only obviously, he was long gone. Inside Reese’s stolen truck contained Cunanan’s clothes and clippings of newspaper reports of his other murders. But just like before, authorities were a few steps behind Andrew, and had no idea where he had escaped to.
Not a lot is known of Andrew Cunanan between July 15th to July 23rd, 1997. It’s not really surprising that we don’t have a ton of information as to where he was, because he was doing what he does best. He was hiding. He was hiding from authorities and reporters. But more importantly, he was hiding from himself.
It was on the second floor of a sky-blue luxury houseboat alongside Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, Florida that Andrew Cunanan fatally shot himself. The houseboat was under siege for more than four hours before police stormed inside. (A caretaker reported hearing a gunshot to the police.) Authorities would discover Andrew’s body, gun in hand, lying in the upstairs bed. Andrew Cunanan had shot himself in the head with the Taurus pistol that he had stolen from his friend, Jeff Trail, just a few months earlier. With Andrew’s death went any chance of determining a motive to all of these murders. Although police searched the houseboat where Andrew had died, he left no suicide note and very few personal belongings. Andrew’s three month murderous spree had ended. But… what now?
Andrew’s motivation remains unknown. At the time of the murders, there was extensive public and press speculation linking the crimes to Andrew’s alleged discovery that he was HIV positive. However, an autopsy revealed that he was in fact, HIV negative. When it comes to Versace, Andrew was obsessed with the designer, and often bragged about his close “friendship” with Versace, although this was symptomatic of Andrew’s delusions of grandeur. However, FBI agents do firmly believe that Versace and Andrew did in fact meet each other in San Francisco, although what their relationship entailed is still a mystery. Orth published a 2008 article in Vanity Fair, reporting that Andrew and Versace had met briefly at a San Francisco nightclub in 1990 (according to several eyewitness claims) and they definitely would have interacted on further occasions because both were involved in sex-for-hire circles in Miami and San Francisco. Police have said that they don’t know why Versace was murdered. “I don’t know that we are ever going to know the answers,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Barreto.
Versace’s body was cremated and his ashes returned to the family’s estate near Cernobbio, Italy, and buried in the family vault at Moltrasio cemetery near Lake Como. Versace’s funeral liturgy, held at Milan Cathedral, was attended by over 2,000 people, including Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Elton John, and Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana was killed in a car accident just over a month later. In September 1997, the estate announced that Versace’s brother, Santo, would serve as the new CEO of Gianni Versace S.p.A while Versace’s sister, Donatella, would become the new head of design. In his will, Versace left 50% of his fashion empire to his niece, Allegra. She and her younger brother, Daniel, inherited Versace’s rare artwork collection. Allegra inherited her stake, worth approximately $500 million, when she turned 18-years-old in 2004.
Andrew’s cremated remains are interred in the mausoleum at Holy Cross Cemetery in San Diego.
So, here are my own theories as to Andrew’s motives for each murder. Starting with Jeffrey Trail, I believe that Andrew killed him because he discovered that Trail was beginning to turn his back on him. Again, this is my assumption, but I think that Andrew learned that Trail was telling David Madson to keep his distance, and that Andrew was, for lack of a better word, a nutjob. Andrew might have felt extremely betrayed by someone he thought of as a good friend, and after everything he had gone through with his father, this might have felt similar. Andrew might have felt completely alone at that point in time.
Now, getting to David Madson. At this point, Andrew had just viciously murdered Jeff Trail, and he did so with a witness. Although Andrew might have loved David, he might have thought that murdering David was his only recourse. Andrew probably kept Madson alive for those few days to indulge in his own fantasies. He was finally with his perfect person- or the person he thought was perfect. But I think that Madson was petrified of Andrew, and obviously very scared for his life. I think that when they stopped at the bar, I truly believe that Madson might have thought about escaping. But, that never came to be. Andrew eventually did the unthinkable for the second time, but I don’t think he came to this conclusion lightly.
Now, Lee Miglin is a toughie. But, I believe the FBI in concluding that Andrew and Miglin had some sort of relationship, even if it was just simply correspondence. Andrew either knew him personally, or knew of him. Remember, Lee was a wealthy, older man- the type that Andrew attached himself to. Lee might very well have been a prior client of Andrew’s when Andrew used to work as an escort- allegedly. I don’t quite know why exactly Andrew made the decision to drive to Chicago and murder Miglin when he did, and to do so would be getting inside the mind of someone completely irrational.
William Reese is a given. He was the victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I think that Andrew was driving around in Miglin’s vehicle, and might have found out that he was being tracked by the car phone. He probably panicked, and decided to steal the first vehicle he saw. Unfortunately for William Reese, that vehicle was the red truck.
And finally, Gianni Versace. He’s another hard to figure out, but if I had to speculate, Gianni was the epitome of who Andrew wanted to become. Gianni had it all. All the money and wealth at his fingertips. Men who doted on him hand and foot. Known world-wide. This is all what Andrew wanted. Now, if you are to believe that Andrew and Gianni met back in 1990, does it make sense that maybe, just maybe Andrew might have felt duped, or maybe, not good enough for Gianni? If it’s true that the two met while Andrew and Gianni were both involved in the sex-for-hire industry, it’s not hard to believe that maybe their relationship- whatever it may have been, might not have been reciprocated by Gianni. It’s clear Gianni was in a relationship with Antonio D’Amico since 1982. That’s a fact. The two allegedly used to attend gay nightclubs and pick up men together, and then take them home and have sex with them. Sometimes Gianni took part, sometimes he did not. If that is the case, then maybe it’s not too far-fetched to believe that maybe Andrew hoped he would be one of Gianni’s lovers. And when that didn’t happen, he might have felt scorned by him. He might not have felt good enough. It was the worst thing that could have happened to Andrew, simply because he might have told friends and family that he already was romantically involved with Versace. It might have been a slap in the face to Andrew- and enough motive for murder.
If you haven’t yet done so, head to Netflix and watch the second season of American Crime Story. Season two is subtitled The Assassination of Gianni Versace and it revolves around the lead-up to, and the aftermath of Versace’s assassination. Edgar Ramirez plays Gianni Versace, Darren Criss plays Andrew Cunanan, Ricky Martin as Antonia D’Amico, Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace, Finn Wittrock as Jeffrey Trail, Cody Fern as David Madson, and Mike Farrell as Lee Miglin.