Andrew Cunanan (August 31, 1969 – July 23, 1997) was a 27-year-old notorious serial killer from Chicago who murdered wealthy and influential men over three months from April 27 to July 15, 1997.
Cunanan, who eventually terminated his own life, was responsible for the murder of a number of influential men including a Chicago real estate developer and a top Italian fashion designer. These infamous cold-blooded murders took place within a period of three months, leaving the world dumbfounded and perturbed as to what his motive was.
Until his death, Andrew remained a dreaded and enigmatic figure and also had his name on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list at the time. Many theories and possible causes for his crimes emerged after his death but none came with full certainty. Here is what we know about the horrible incidents, as well as other facts about the serial killer.
Who was Andrew Cunanan?
Andrew was born in Califonia’s National City, on August 31, 1969. Growing up, he attended Bonita Vista Middle School and was later enrolled at The Bishop’s School, in San Diego. Reports have it that Andrew was a bright and intelligent student at school and its all thanks to his high IQ of 147. As he grew older, he developed a habit of telling lies about his family’s financial status. He would exaggerate about his family’s wealth to impress his peers at school.
He also engaged in illegal money-making activities to enable him to live up to the fake life standard he created for himself. While in high school, Andrew also liked to be addressed as gay and was friends with a lot of wealthy older men.
After high school, Andrew Cunanan proceeded to the University of California, taking up History as a major. However, two years after his enrolment, he dropped out so he would relocate to San Francisco. His resident was in San Francisco’s Castro district- a place synonymous with gay culture. There, he would frequent gay clubs, befriending wealthy gay men and living off them. Reports had it that he had changed his name several times with no identified motive.
At some point, Andrew developed an interest in various criminal activities such as drug dealing and even violent pornography.
Andrew Cunanan at a Glance
His Crimes, Victims and How He Killed Each
Andrew’s violent nature didn’t just begin at the spot. One thing led to another in his life, until he was overwhelmed by his own act. Being already used to a lavish lifestyle, Andrew’s quest to maintain his social balance led him to commit crimes. The situation of things, however, went sour when in 1996, Norman Blachford, one of his financial powerhouses and sugar daddy broke up with him. Norman was known to be one of the life support of the Andrew: he provides him with a $2,000 monthly allowance and a fancy car to drive, among many other things.
While he was still trying to pull through, he was yet again dumped by another of his big life support, Donna Brant the then managing editor of America’s Most Wanted. The actions of these two personalities totally crushed Cunanan emotionally and mentally until he resorted to crimes to make a living.
Andrew Cunanan’s first victim was Jeffery Trail, a friend of his who was formerly in the US Navy. It was April 27, 1997; little did Trail know that he would not see the end of that fateful day. The two friends had gotten into an argument that provoked Andrew to the point of grabbing a claw hammer and smashing his friend’s head with it.
Andrew’s next victim was David Madson; his former boyfriend. It wasn’t clear what transpired between the two but Madson’s body was found with gunshot wounds lying near Rush City, Minnesota. Investigations later revealed that the gun used to carry out the attack was handled by Cunanan as he had taken it from Jeffery Trail’s house.
Lee Miglin, an affluent real estate developer, was Cunanan’s next kill. The 72-year-old was stabbed multiple times by the serial killer who bound his hands and feet. He was later seen in a pool of his own blood.
Andrew went on to kill William Reese, his fourth victim, only five days after killing Lee Miglin. He shot him and drove to Florida with Reese’s truck. He stayed in Florida for two months and also made his next and last kill there.
Cunanan’s last murder victim was Gianni Versace, an Italian fashion designer. Again, it isn’t clear what his motive was, but the designer was killed at his Miami Beach mansion with two gunshots by Andrew.
On July 23, 1997, Andrew decided it was time to take his own life. As previously stated, all these killings took place within a period of three months in 1997. Andrew kept the police on their feet that year as they investigated tirelessly in the heat of the murders.
The serial killer shot himself with the same firearm he used to take the life of Madson, Reese, and Versace. To date, the motive of his killings has not been discovered. Reports have it that he had been diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder which causes people to lack empathy and remorse.
What was Andrew Cunanan’s Relationship With His Family Members Like?
Andrew’s middle name is Phillip. He was born to Modesto “Pete” Cunanan and Mary Anne Schillaci. His siblings are Elena and Regina (sisters) and a brother named Christopher. His father, Pete, worked as a stockbroker and also served in the US Navy during the Vietnam war. Andrew didn’t just get along well with his family members. But this did not stop him from telling exaggerated tales about his family to his peers in school in order to be perceived as affluent. The wanted murderer was recorded to have gotten into a heated argument with his mother, which resulted in his pushing her against a wall, dislocating her arm.