Andrew Cunanan in April 1997
|Born||Andrew Phillip Cunanan
August 31, 1969
National City, California, U.S
|Died||July 23, 1997
Miami Beach, Florida, U.S
Cause of death
|Suicide by gunshot|
Span of killings
|April 25, 1997–July 24, 1997|
|State(s)||Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey, Florida|
Andrew Phillip Cunanan (August 31, 1969 – July 23, 1997) was an American spree killer[note 1] who murdered at least five people, including fashion designer Gianni Versace, during a three-month period in 1997. On June 12, 1997, Cunanan became the 449th fugitive to be listed by the FBI on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. The killing spree ended with Cunanan's suicide. He was 27 years old.
Cunanan was born in National City, California, to Modesto Cunanan, a Filipino American, and Mary Anne Schillaci, an Italian American, the youngest of four children. Modesto was serving in the US Navy in the Vietnam War at the time of his son's birth.
In 1981, Andrew's father enrolled him in The Bishop's School in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California. At school, Cunanan was remembered as being bright and very talkative, testing with an I.Q. of 147. As a teenager, however, he developed a reputation as a prolific liar given to telling fantastic tales about his family and personal life. He was also adept at changing his appearance according to what he felt was most attractive at a given moment.
When he was 19, his father deserted his family to avoid arrest for embezzlement. That same year, his mother learned that Cunanan was gay. During an ensuing argument, he threw her against a wall, dislocating her shoulder. (Later examination of his behavior from reports indicate that he may have suffered from psychopathy, a personality disorder characterized by an abnormal lack of empathy.)
After graduating from high school in 1987, he enrolled at the University of California, San Diego, where he majored in American history. After dropping out, he settled in the Castro District of San Francisco. While there, he frequented high-class gay bars and prostituted himself to wealthy older men, and became involved in petty theft and drug dealing.
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 rolled up in a rug in a closet in Madson's Minneapolis loft apartment.
Five days later, Cunanan, who took Miglin's car, found his fourth victim in Pennsville, New Jersey, at the Finn's Point National Cemetery, killing 45-year-old caretaker William Reese. 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 even used his own name to pawn a stolen item, knowing that police routinely check pawn shop records for stolen merchandise.
On July 15, 1997, Cunanan murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace. A witness attempted to pursue him but could not catch him. The vehicle he used, as well as the clothes he had just been wearing, an alternative passport, and newspaper clippings of his murders, were found in a nearby garage by the police who responded.
On July 23, 1997, eight days after murdering Versace, Cunanan shot himself in the mouth in the upstairs bedroom of a Miami houseboat. He used the same gun he had used to kill Madson and Miglin, a Taurus PT100 semi-automatic pistol in .40 S&W caliber, which had been stolen from the first victim, Jeff Trail. His cremated remains are interred in the Mausoleum at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in San Diego, California.
In order to piece together a motive for his killing spree, police searched the boathouse where Cunanan died. However, Cunanan left behind few personal belongings, surprising 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.
His motivations remain a mystery. Various theories include jealousy for Versace's role as a "gay icon", as well as necessity and opportunity in some of the other murders. Examination of his behavior from reports also indicates that he may have suffered from psychopathy, a personality disorder characterized by an abnormal lack of empathy.
- NOTE: the FBI differentiates between spree murders and serial murders due to the former's lack of a cooling off period
- Geringer, Joseph."Andrew Cunanan: After Me, Disaster: Andrew's World"
- Orth, Maureen (14 June 2000). Vulgar Favors. Dell Publishing. ISBN 978-0-440-22585-0.
- Danielle Esposito; John E. Douglas; Ann W. Burgess; Allen G. Burgess (2006). "Case Study: Andrew Cunanan". In John E. Douglas, Ann W. Burgess, Allen G. Burgess. Crime classification manual: a standard system for investigating and classifying violent crimes (2 ed.). John Wiley and Sons. pp. 448–452. ISBN 978-0-7879-8501-1. Retrieved April 10, 2011.
- "Famous Criminals: Andrew Cunanan". Crimeandinvestigation.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- Black, Donald W., Larson, C. Lindon. Bad boys, bad men: confronting antisocial personality disorder
- "Andrew Cunanan: After Me, Disaster - Trail and Madson" (analysis), Crime Library.com, Courtroom Television Network LLC, 2005.
- "''America's Most Wanted'': Andrew Cunanan". Amw.com. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- "New Twist In Miglin Case". Chicago Tribune. 8 May 1997. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Kastor, Elizabeth, Weeks, Linton. "Five Lives Cut Short" Washington Post. July 17, 1997.
- Geringer, Joseph. "Andrew Cunanan: After Me, Disaster: Unlike a Fugitive"
- Phillips, Andrew. "Versace's Killer Kills Self" Maclean's August 4, 1997.
- Lecayo, Richard. "Tagged for Murder". Time Magazine, June 21, 2001.
- Janofsky, Michael (July 25, 1997). "Suspect's Suicide Brings Relief and Normality". The New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
- "Who is Andrew Cunanan?", CNN.com, 17 July 1997.
- Cunanan, Andrew - Autopsy report #1997-01742, Miami Medical Examiner.
- Dirk Cameron Gibson, Serial Murder and Media Circuses, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. p. 138.
- Gianni Versace - Maxim
- Indiana, Gary (1999). Three Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story. ISBN 0-06-019145-7. (non-fiction)
- Morris, Daniel (2010). Thrillkillville. ISBN 0-9827928-0-8. (novel)
- Orth, Maureen (1999). Vulgar Favors. Dell. ISBN 0-385-33286-6. (non-fiction)
- Sanes, Ken. "How Andrew Cunanan Became a UFO". Transparency.now. (editorial article)
- Schecter, Harold & Everitt, David. The A-to-Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. ISBN 0-671-02074-9. (non-fiction)
- Golan, Menahem (writer-director) (1998). The Versace Murder. (non-fiction film)