The killing spree of Andrew Cunanan
On July 15th 1997, Gianni Versace was shot and killed outside of his Miami Beach mansion by spree killer Andrew Cunanan. It was unclear if Versace knew his attacker or what the motive was. In this 2 part episode, we explore the life of Andrew Cunanan, his connection to Gianni Versace, and the killing spree that ended the life of the famous fashion designer and four others.
*This is not an exact transcript, but rather an outline of my notes.
On July 15th 1997, Gianni Versace was shot and killed outside of his Miami Beach mansion by spree killer Andrew Cunanan. It was unclear if Versace knew his attacker or what the motive was. Interestingly, a reporter for Vanity Fair named Maureen Orth had been following a string of murders and doing her own independent investigation into Andrew Cunanan when she got the news that Gianni Versace had been murdered, and the suspect was the very same person she had already been looking into.
So Maureen Orth put her research into a book called Vulgar Favors, which is my main source for this. Just so you know, there are *some* people who bash Maureen Orth and don’t believe her, but I will note that I found a pattern among the people who bash her; these people tend to be Woody Allen supporters. Maureen Orth also reported on Woody Allen and lots of people didn’t like the things she said.
It’s funny, Maureen and I have that in common. When people bash my podcast and accuse me of lying, it’s usually people defending Woody Allen or R Kelly.
With that said, *I* believe Maureen Orth is a valid and reputable reporter. Sorry if you don’t but in this case, I really think she’s the best person to ask.
Also, the Ryan Murphy show American Crime Story had a season called the Assassination of Gianni Versace and it was also based on Maureen’s book. I’ve mentioned the show American Crime Story before, when we talked about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. It’s really good, they do a great job telling the stories and the casting is always amazing.
Anyway it’s like a fictional re-telling of the details described in Maureen’s book. So if you’ve seen the show, you’re probably familiar with the story but I am going to go beyond that and share some details that weren’t really elaborated on and also fact check the information that was depicted.
Also, shout out to the podcast Killer Queens who did an amazing job telling this story.
First let me tell you a little bit about Gianni Versace.
Versace was an Italian fashion designer, socialite and businessman. He was the founder of Versace, an international luxury-fashion house that produces accessories, fragrances, make-up, home furnishings and clothes. He also designed costumes for theatre and films. As a friend of Eric Clapton, Princess Diana, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Madonna, Elton John, Tupac Shakur and many other celebrities, he was one of the first designers to link fashion to the music world.
Andrew Phillip Cunanan was born on August 31st, 1969 in National City California to parents Modesto “Pete” Dungao Cunanan, a Filipino-American, and Mary Anne Shillaci, an Italian-American.
Mary Anne was the child of immigrant parents. Her mother died when she was 19 and she moved to California to live with her brother, but she got the feeling that she wasn’t welcome there. Apparently they were really affectionate for a brother and sister and the wife became uncomfortable.
Pete was a Filipino immigrant who enlisted in the US Navy as soon as he got here. He was handsome and confident and walked with a swagger and had a booming voice. When Mary Anne saw him for the first time in a bar, her heart stopped and they danced the night away.
So they got married and had 4 children. The second child, a daughter named Elena, was blond and blue-eyed, and Pete suspected that she wasn’t his daughter. So Pete developed an attitude of total disgust towards Mary Anne and he became very abusive towards her. For sure he was verbally and emotionally abusive, and while he claims he never got physical, Mary Anne says that he has pulled her hair and struck her.
He also was a very strict disciplinarian. For example, if the kids were watching tv or playing and Pete walked in, they would automatically vacate the room so he could sit down and eat his dinner alone in front of the tv.
Mary Anne would become kind of fragile and dependent, she made sure the house was spotless per his orders, putting plastic liners on everything. She was also catholic and very strictly religious. It was said that she was kind of eccentric and would often say the first thing that popped into her head in a childlike voice.
At the same time she was kind of passive-aggressive and manipulative. Like for example, she would use sex to get Pete to buy her new furniture.
Money was a big source of tension between them. Pete seemed to find a lot of importance in social etiquette. He needed to hold a reputation as a classy, cultured, and wealthy man so he splurged on fancy things. Pete says that Mary Anne, who was a stay-at-home mom, was actually the one spending money like crazy. And she was but also, Pete had 3 bank accounts and Mary Anne only had access to one of them.
Despite their marital troubles, they had two more kids– Regina and Andrew. They purchased their first home in 1967 for $12,500 in a scruffy little town in National City.
Andrew was born in 1969 and his birth was really traumatic for Mary Anne. She lost a lot of blood and fell into a deep postpartum depression. She wasn’t able to take care of herself or the baby, so she ended up getting hospitalized for 3 months, leaving Pete to take care of newborn Andrew. Pete bonded a lot with this baby. From the beginning, he knew this baby was exceptional. Pete says that Andrew never cried, even one time when he stepped on a hot coal.
When Andrew was 3, Pete retired from the navy with a full pension and started pursuing his dream to become a stock broker. I mean his dream was really to be filthy fucking rich. He got a bachelors degree and then a masters for business administration. Around this time, Mary Anne inherited some money and considered using it to start a new life without Pete. Instead, she ended up using it to buy a bigger house with Pete cosigning. So they bought a 3 bedroom house in a nice, affluent neighborhood called La Jolla, for $96,000. This was a big step up for the family.
Mary Anne would say that Chris and Elena were different from Andrew and Gina, saying that Chris and Elena were “street kids”. They grew up differently in scruffy little National City, pinching pennies, and Andrew and Regina were born into the family when Pete was making money and now living in a nicer neighborhood, and they were given everything while Chris and Elena were not.
Still, they were not rich. But they made sure Andrew had everything the rich kids had.
Andrew was known to do really well academically. He read the bible and memorized the encyclopedia by age 10. Though he took an IQ test in 3rd grade and scored 147, his teachers didn’t think he was like spectacularly intelligent or anything. but his parents did and that was enough. He was a quiet, calm kid who would often retreat into books while the other kids played outside. A neighbor from Andrew’s childhood calls him the epitome of a mama’s boy, and recalls calling him outside to play once and when he came to the door, Mary Anne pulled him back and told him “you can’t do that”.
They had a close relationship but it was kind of odd. It was like Mary Anne and Pete were competing for Andrew’s attention. Mary Anne brags that she and Andrew were inseparable when he was a little boy, and this infuriated Pete. He would say “you cannot cling like that to your son.”
“She suffocated him by his necktie. She clung to his belt loop. It was that kind of relationship– mothering in a different way.”
Maureen Orth wrote that “[MaryAnn] was helping create a personality who began to see himself as superior, which his father encouraged.” Andrew and Pete’s relationship was odd too with “pet names” and using baby-talk well into Andrew’s teenage years.
And Pete treated Andrew like the golden child. Even his siblings would say he was the “little prince” of the family. When they moved into their 3 bedroom house, Pete actually gave Andrew the master bedroom, and made the 3 other kids share a room.
So Andrew was clearly treated superiorly to the other kids and this kind of cemented the idea in his mind that he was superior. "The one impression I got from Andrew back then is he knew something good would happen to him. He knew he would turn out better than his peers, than everyone around him," says Gary Bong, Andrew's junior-high classmate. "This sense of superiority was his defining characteristic."
Pete and Andrew had pet names for each other abd baby-talked with each other even after Andrew was well into high school.
His father also like trained him to become like cultured and eloquent and basically just know how to talk to rich people and fit in with them. He would take him out for ice cream and tutored him on labels and image. And he would offer to buy him all kinds of crap, like he would point out nice shoes or a blazer and be like “you like this? Lets get you this.” and Andrew learned quickly that his dad would buy him anything. It was like, the idea of having to “afford” something wasn’t a concept to him. He wasn’t really aware if there were any financial issues. He only knew instant gratification.
By the time Andrew was in 7th grade, he had already developed a taste for the finer things. Andrew attended a classmate’s 12th birthday party and was disappointed that there was only tap water and no Perrier. He started telling grandiose and highly embellished stories, something he also must’ve gotten from his father. Pete would often tell life stories about working for Merril Lynch in Manila, and owning a plantation, and just a lot of tall tales created to make him seem successful.
When he was 14 (a freshman in high school), he had to miss a field trip to see the opera Carmen because he was sick. He threw a tantrum so to make him feel better, Pete bought him a brand new sports car. Again, he was 14 so he didn’t have his license, and his older brother Christopher didn’t even have a car and he did have his license.
Andrew made friends with a pair of twins named Mathew and Rachel Rifat, who were intelligent and well-traveled, and he would spend many weekends at their house. He even let the Rifas meet his parents, although it was very staged. He’d greet his mom by throwing his arm up and saying “mama!” and blowing kisses. She says that he would brag about how she was better than the other mothers, who he called phonies. But nobody who knows Andrew actually believes that. “Andrew was not interested in sharing the limelight with anyone, and they [his parents] were not part of his world, really.” said Anne Rifat, the twins’ mother. “He’d come into the kitchen and talk to me. He treated MaryAnn like a child. ‘Little Mother’ he would call her.”
There was another friend Andrew had in school named Stacy Lopez, who he told about his family. He told her that his mother was “a mess” and he talked about his siblings being jealous of him. She says that he couldn’t bring himself to tell his parents that he was gay, even though he wanted the rest of the world to know it. He was known to love money and love having older men “take care of him” when he was just 16. She didn’t think he prostituted himself, but maybe just went out with guys who bought him stuff.
One time one of his sugar daddies bought him a bright red leather suit, and he flaunted it at school. It was the kind of thing nobody would dare do in that era.
He also started introducing an aspect of danger. He began bringing a gun to school, often keeping it in his car and taking it out to show people.
On his senior class ski trip, Andrew was accused of stealing money from a condo where his friends were staying. He denied it and nothing was ever proven, but people wondered.
He started regularly saying that his two favorite things were sex and taking a shit. His gestures and laughter were said to have become edgy, and his friend Mathew said that he would do things a little too aggressively, like slap him on the back or grab his arm in a way that was like jarring.
From Vulgar Favors:
Elizabeth Oglesby, a psychologist who lived next door to Andrew and befriended him, believes Andrew was a narcissist. “Narcissists look at people as objects they can consume or use. His parents were just there to serve, adore, or cater to him.” It is not unusual, according to psychotherapists who have studied narcissism, that in unhappy families the mother may choose a son to lavish her attention on and may use him almost as an emotional stand-in for the husband who has rejected her. While their loyalties are torn between their parents, they are taught that they are superior, little Prince Charmings. Yet they are not able to process such feelings of intimacy, so they end up pushing down their confused feelings of guilt, fear, or anger and eventually what’s left is a coldness and an idea that one’s image is more important than having feelings at all. The explosion comes later, when the child is unable to get his way; then the image crumbles and all the pent-up rage erupts.
By highschool, Andrew was a full on snob.
Pete, working as a stockbroker, wasn’t doing too great. He left one job after 2 years and was fired from the next after about a year, but he continued to blow through his money. He enrolled Andrew in the prestigious Bishop’s school, which was not cheap. At the time when Andrew attended Bishop’s, the annual tuition was $4,000-$6,200. Very few students received financial aid and the ones that did only got about $1,500. All this on Pete’s occasional income which never exceeded $50,000 annually. His siblings were not offered the same opportunity.
In school, Andrew liked to dress really formally. Like he would wear suits or preppy jackets/ He liked to be flashy and get noticed. He was known to speak in a loud, boisterous tone, which he probably a form of getting peoples’ attention that he learned from his father.
Andrew was a gay man and very flamboyant and fashionable at school. But he was very careful to keep his family life and his social life separate. He never invited friends over to his house and he never let his parents go to his school events. His father denies to this day that Andrew is homosexual.
He was popular because his stories were funny and colorful, and he liked to talk about fashion and celebrities so he was popular with girls. Even when his stories were clearly bullshit, he was entertaining. His classmates recalled that he was fun to watch, kind of like a disaster you can’t look away from. He was named “most likely to be remembered” in his yearbook, which is exactly what he wanted. He never really had any ambitions, he just wanted to be known for his personality and who he was rather than for… doing anything.
Anyway, he upheld this rich boy act that was so extra. Like, one time he made his mom bring lobster to his school so he could eat it for lunch (he told her it had to be there RIGHT on time, and it was). Which tells me that Andrew has also adopted a disturbing attitude towards her from Pete.
A classmate said that he stopped being friends with Andrew because he became obnoxious and materialistic and constantly put people down.
So Andrew’s keeping a lot of secrets. He’s trying to create the illusion that his life is perfect, but the reality was that he was hiding his sexuality at home, dealing with a dysfunctional family with an abusive father and unstable mother, and he’s got a ton of elaborate lies to keep up with. But his sense of superiority kept growing.
Despite the financial problems, Pete and MaryAnn mortgaged their house and rented it in order to buy a $189,000 house. It had 4 bedrooms and MaryAnn called it a mansion. Andrew was given the master bedroom, MaryAnn slept in the “maid’s room,” and Pete slept on the couch. Andrew was given his own credit card that he tapped out quickly.
By the time that Cunanan graduated high school, though, Pete was cycling through a series of jobs and reportedly shady deals to combat his growing debt. Pete was accused of embezzling money from his clients at the last job (including a 90-year-old woman) and cleaning them out. Essentially he was selling nonexistent stocks and pocketing the money. Explained American Crime Story writer Tom Rob Smith: “[Pete] committed what looked to be fraudulent trading activity. He moved down through various trading houses—smaller and smaller ones until he was finally caught. He had all of this fraud that was just circling him, and finally he runs to Manila.”
He just abandoned the family and fled. And then he sold the house they were living in without telling them. MaryAnn had nothing– she had like $700 to her name and $650 a month in Navy pension checks. He also got mad at her for keeping his navy pension money for her and the kids to survive, saying that it was supposed to go toward Andrew’s education. She’s got 2 kids in college who now had to drop out to deal with MaryAnn, whose mental health was deteriorating and was regularly threatening to commit suicide.
Afterward, Andrew flew to the Philippines and tracked down his father—where he found him living in squalor.
“When Andrew saw the crude poverty in which his father was living, a driving madness took over his mind,” one of Andrew’s teachers told Orth. He actually embellished his stories about his family in the Phillipines even more.
The experience shattered Andrew. His father had raised him to believe that status was everything, and now his father was living with nothing and left him with nothing. And Andrew’s self-worth, which is tied to his status, was obliterated.
Andrew’s friend, Liz Cote, offered to let him move in with her and her fiance in Berkley, which was basically next door to “the most liberated gay community in America,” the Castro district in San Fransisco, where he spent most of his time in gay bars. But interestingly, he wasn’t exactly “out” with Liz and her fiance, Phil. For some reason he kept his dating life private from them too.
Andrew continued continued making up elaborate stories about himself. He claimed his parents lived on 5th Avenue, and that he had been married and had a daughter (using a picture of Liz and her daughter) claiming his wife was a Jewish princess. He also used numerous aliases, like Andrew DeSilva.
He would also pretend to be jewish. One time his friend pulled out a $100 bill to pay a bartender, and Andrew snatched it out of his hand and said “this is my Chanukah present.”
In October 1990, Versace came to San Francisco with partner Antonio D’Amico to see the opera Capriccio, for which Versace had designed the costumes. The two of them were openly gay and enjoyed frequenting gay bars and hanging out with the gay community, and the whole town was abuzz when they heard they were in town. so they hit up a disco called Collosus, where Andrew Cunanan also happened to be. Maybe. Possibly. Idk, Andrew’s full of shit but some people attest that they were there so.. Hearsay.
So the *story goes* like this. Andrew had a friend named Eli who was given passes to the Collosus VIP room, and Eli invited Andrew. Andrew claimed that he had been to Italy a bunch of times and that he had actually met Versace before. This was untrue.
But then Gianni Versace saw Andrew, approached him, and said “I know you. Lago di Como, no?”
According to Maureen Orth, this was just a line that Versace used when he wanted to strike up a conversation with someone. But Andrew saw an opportunity and was like “that’s right. Thank you for remembering, Signor Versace.”
And then he told everyone the embellished story saying “and then i said, ‘if you’re gianni versace then i’m coco chanel!’”
His friend Liz and her fiance Phil also recall how Andrew jumped on their bed in the morning shouting “you’ll never believe who i went clubbing with last night!” and repeated the “coco chanel” joke.
Versace’s family denies they ever met.
In the summer of 1991, Liz and Phil decided to move to Sacramento, so Andrew had to go live with his mom again, in a 2-bedroom apartment in Rancho Bernardo and re-enrolled in the University of California San Diego. He had to get a job at a Thrifty’s drug store to make ends meet which was not something he was happy about. Living with his mom really got to him. She was pretty eccentric and she talked A LOT. She also smoked a lot and threatened suicide often. Neighbor Hal Melowitz, a psychiatric social worker who befriended Mary Ann, remembers that she was under a psychiatrist's care and had suffered several nervous breakdowns, the first at age 39, when Pete broke a chair over her.
Andrew seemed totally indifferent towards his mother. He would party for days at a time and then come home to crash, and he demanded that MaryAnn remain absolutely silent while he slept, no matter what time it was (and it was often well into the afternoon). He wouldn't allow her to go to the Thrifty Drug store where he worked, he would literally fly into a rage.
She would make him whatever he wanted to eat, even if she only had $15 and he wanted steak. He pretty much would come home, eat, do his personal stuff, go out and party. Which is sad, he's a lot like his father. He never sat down to talk to her or asked how she was feeling. And yet, whenever he would stop at home, she clung to him and would ask “well do you want to eat something? Well when are you coming back?”.
His neighbor, psychologist Elizabeth Ogelsby, says that he confided in her, although also made up a lot of stories. He didn’t tell the truth about his parents but he did tell her that he didn’t get along with his parents, and he basically rejected them.
One time in 1993, he lost his temper and slammed his mother against a wall, so hard that she fractured her shoulder and had to wear her arm in a sling. When she went to the emergency room, Andrew allegedly warned her that if she ever told anyone, he'd kill her.
Despite all the violence, MaryAnn clung to him. According to Melowitz (the neighbor), "you'd need a crowbar to pry her away from her son."
Andrew began befriending older men at the gay clubs and also reportedly making violent pornography. He was using drugs like crystal meth, and apparently crystal meth is big among the gay community, especially in San Diego in the 90’s. It was also popular among porn stars and from what I read, it can keep you thinking about sex all day long.
Andrew watched a lot of porn– but I guess this wasn’t unusual. He also tried to work as a porn star, as that was considered like an ultimate celebrity to him. In a way, it like proved that you’re attractive.
He became well-known in the gay nightlife and he basically lived off of selling drugs and letting older men take him out and spoil him. When he did have money, he would flash it and buy rounds for everyone. He was super show-offy. And he was also sooo classy and charming and educated and cultured, and attractive. So these older men just loved bringing him to events and showing him off. It was said that Andrew was also like a middle man, helping older closeted men hook up with younger men.
Among these men was Lincoln Aston who was a wealthy 60-year old architect who had once been married and had an attraction to younger men. Andrew and his friend Robbins started hanging out with a circle of prominent older gay men and going to cocktail parties and dinner with them, and some of them would catch on that Andrew couldn’t possibly have done all the things he claimed.. Like he literally couldn’t have been alive long enough to accomplish all he had claimed.
He befriended a young salesman who told Andrew where he could get a job as a male escort, so Andrew went to Florida and did just that.
Now this might be a coincidence, but this particular salesman had clients who were executives of the Home Shopping network, headquartered in St Petersburg, Florida. One of Andrew’s victims, Lee Miglin, had a wife named Marilyn who was associated with the Home Shopping Network and Lee helped her run her business in the early 90’s. It’s not known for sure if Andrew personally knew Lee Miglin or not.
MaryAnne found expensive clothes in Andrew’s closet with the tags still on and was baffled to see $700 suits and $300 shoes, when Andrew didn’t have a job. She found matchbooks from clubs and bars and she called them, and they told her straight up that they were gay clubs, but she was in absolute disbelief. And denial, she totally denies that her son was gay.
He did have legit friends though, like a little clique he hung out with. Because Andrew was the life of the party and he knew everyone. He was really popular and in any room he was in, he was the one people wanted to talk to. But those who knew him best knew that Andrew was pretty full of shit. They noticed that he was always driving around in other peoples cars, and staying in different peoples’ houses, but he never made any like friendly conversation about these people.
So like Andrew’s friends would just let him live in his fantasy world without challenging him because if they did, he would just become obnoxious and push and push with his storytelling and he would become pouty. So almost like giving him a pacifier they just let him go on because nobody wanted to see the life of the party get pouty.
In effect, this made every single person in Andrew’s life an enabler.
Around late 1992-early 1993, Andrew met a guy named Jeff Trail. Jeff was a former navy officer and had long been struggling with his homosexuality and his sense of identity. He grew up in an all-American kind of family and being gay in the military wasn’t easy in the days of “don’t ask don’t tell”.
So Jeff and Andrew met and they were both in awe of each other. Not in a sexual way, they were just friends. But Jeff was in awe of how flamboyant and carefree Andrew was. And Andrew really admired Jeff with his uniform and his classy upbringing. So Andrew would introduce Jeff to all kinds of cute boys, which was helpful considering Jeff was still pretty in the closet so his meeting with boys was very underground.
Then, Jeff started coming to terms with the fact that he was gay and he started pulling in guys from left and right. And its because he was a legitimately nice and charming man, he was such a gentleman that so many people were attracted to him.
Jeff’s career interest was drifting more in the direction of law enforcement so he bought himself a gun and he and Andrew, who had a fascination with guns, would go target shooting together. But there was one thing that Jeff didn’t tolerate and that was drugs. And everybody knew that Andrew sold drugs and that’s literally how he gets all this money, and they tried to tell Jeff but Jeff always backed Andrew up because Andrew would lie to him about where his money came from and claim it was from his parents or something. And the more people tried to warn Jeff, he would be like “look, I know. But I can’t just leave him out in the cold, he looks up to me.” He would tell people that Andrew was somebody that like, you might not like him all the time but you’re always going to stand by him, kind of like how you would with family. Jeff was a ride or die.
What people didn’t know at first was that Andrew was also using drugs. He was a habitual user of crystal meth, as well as marijuana, cocaine, and prescription downers like vicodin, xanax, or valium. He kept this very private, but those who hung out with him a lot did notice that he was really hyper a lot of times.
A little bit ago I mentioned that Andrew hung out with an older gentleman named Lincoln Aston. Idk if they ever hooked up (they were both pretty private about that) but they did hang out in the night scene for sure. While hanging out with Lincoln Aston, Andrew was introduced to a man named Norman Blanchard and they begin a “relationship” in 1994 he begins a relationship with a man named Norman Blanchord who basically was his sugar daddy but didn’t seem to get much sugar. Norman was 58 years old, soft-spoken, conservative, and very, very rich. Norman lived in Phoenix but he had a condo in La Jolla and would go often.
Norman had just recently lost his partner of 26 years to AIDS.
Andrew’s friends say that he thoroughly researched Norman and his sources of money. Norman was cautious with his money by nature, which was frustrating to Andrew..
He let him move in with him and spoiled him with an allowance, fancy vacations, lavish gifts, anything he wanted, ensuring that Andrew can live the lifestyle he wants. Unfortunately, Andrew was entitled af and started demanding things like his own place. And realistically, Andrew wasn’t offering much to the relationship. They slept in separate beds so they didn’t have sex, Andrew was pretty much just a pretty guy on his sleeve. But he was fun for Norman to have around; they would go to places like France and Italy, and Andrew would be like the tour guide. He would look up all the hottest places to go out and all the right museums, and he was super cultured about art and history and architecture.
Still, Andrew would complain to his friends that Norman was cheap. I mean he basically let Andrew decorate their home and tell him what to buy all the time, but Norman wasn’t as frivolous as Andrew. He actually wanted to pay for Andrew’s education or career. He gladly would’ve paid for Andrew to put his brain power and talent to work, but Andrew was not interested. Andrew wasn’t just greedy, he was also lazy.
In early 1995, their mutual older friend, Lincoln Aston, seemed to be becoming skeptical about Andrew. He was heard saying “he’d have to be at least ten years older than he says he is in order to do all the things he says he’s done” and was also warning people to avoid Andrew.
In May 1995, Lincoln Aston was murdered. The official story is that he was murdered by a male hustler. But there are a few people who believe that Andrew may have been involved with it. Later on, Andrew got Norman to buy him his own place. This new place happened to belong to Lincoln Aston.
Andrew moved into Norman’s condo in July 1995, leaving his mother high and dry. That November, Pete suddenly stopped having his pension checks sent to her, saying that they were intended for Andrew’s schooling. MaryAnn moved back to Illinois where her older children lived in 1995 and later went on public assistance.
While being kept by Norman, Andrew would still go out with his younger crowd and try to hook up. He would leave town to go to San Diego or something and tell Norman that he had to go visit his “ex wife and young daughter” (he would show people pictures of Liz and her daughter and claim they were his ex wife and daughter). Many of his friends didn’t even know about Norman. One weekend in November 1995, Andrew was having dinner with friends at a restaurant in San Francisco when he noticed a cute, preppy blonde guy– David Madson.
David was so charismatic, it seemed to blow people away. He was from Minneapolis in town on business (he was an architect). David also liked to live a certain type of lifestyle, but unlike Andrew, David worked hard for it. He was very driven and dedicated and earned everything he had. He was an aerobics, ski, and swimming instructor (his father said he taught half the kids in their hometown how to swim).
But he was very attracted to Andrew’s flashiness.
David, like Andrew, liked to be the center of attention. But as a peacemaker (unlike Andrew). He had a thing for the underdog and he was always trying to help people or uplift people. He was kind of drawn to people who needed him.
Before meeting Andrew, David had kind of a traumatic relationship with a guy named Greg Nelson who would end up stalking David. He spread false rumors that David had given him HIV, and he would call David as many as 120 times a day. He gave David’s phone number to sex-phone lines so people looking for action would call him. He sent pornographic literature along with a nude picture of David to David’s job at a lawfirm (sent to the senior partners), saying “do you know what your employees do?” He was finally jailed after repeatedly violating a court order to stay away from David.
This went on for over 2 years. David was afraid to open his door and he had to change his phone number numerous times. He never knew when he was going to find his car scratched up or something.
And he hated violence; His father recalled taking him duck hunting once and when they shot this duck he cried and cried so badly that his father had to try to hide the duck and give it to a neighbor.
There was also an incident when David was a dorm advisor, an angry student mistook him for someone else and pushed him through a pane of glass. He was not injured, but of course really shaken up.
Those seem like good reasons to not be a big fan of violence to me.
David also struggled with his sexuality. His family was religious it was hard for them to grasp. But even so.. When David came out to his father, his father was basically like “I can’t say I understand because I don’t believe in that, but I don’t love David any less or view him any differently.” David tried to date girls and even fell in love with one. He teeter tottered on whether he was straight or gay or bisexual.
So David and Andrew started a long distance relationship. He had to keep David a secret from Norman, and Norman a secret from David. Because of this, Andrew could never leave David a number where he could call him, so he had to wait around for Andrew to call. Andrew would send him cute letters and postcards from different places, but David could only write back to a post office box (that andrew rarely checked). He told David that his family had to keep a low profile because they were potential kidnap victims.
Andrew and David would see each other every two or three weeks or so, but Andrew would start hanging out at gay bathhouses where drugs were prevalent.
Andrew started to explore S&M and planned to get David into it, however, he would tell all his friends that David was actually the one to introduce him to it.
But before long it became “David won’t let me do everything I want to do.”
There was a dungeon master (like the sexy kind) who recall Andrew flirting with the idea of S&M and coming to him with questions about bondage and where to buy restraints and stuff. He even called him up and asked him about mixing semen with blood, like making a small incision into the chest or arm and then ejaculating into the blood and mixing it.. Even the dungeon master said “it’s very strange. It’s one way HIV spreads.”
A friend named John Semerau claimed that on more than one occasion, he had dinner with Andrew and David and they both wanted him to engage in a threesome with them, which he never did.
It seems like David was a consenting participant to these things, at least to an extent. He would go to these themed leather nights and stuff, but it DID get to a point where he said that sex with Andrew was uncomfortable and not enjoyable, and that Andrew kept trying to do things he did not want to do. When David said no, Andrew stormed out of the hotel room, down to a restaurant. He threw a little tantrum.
Another friend who talked to David said “i know on two occasions david talked to me about experiences with bondage, and it really wasn’t his thing. On a personal level, david was submissive in bed, and he’d rather be manhandled than stroked. I’m a teddy bear at home, and David would ask me to be more aggressive.”
Andrew had a friend named Doug Stubblefield, who had done his college thesis on a homosexual philosopher who articulated “going beyond the boundaries of normality”, and Andrew went to him for advice on S&M videos to rent. Doug became concerned that Andrew was violating a fundamental tenet of the pain-and-pleasure principle– that it has to be equal and balanced. He felt that Andrew was having trouble drawing that line and that he was trying to dominate David too much.
One guy said that when Andrew went on and on about how David is the man of his dreams, this guy asked him “why?” Andrew stopped and let out a maniacal laugh before saying “because he lets me do anything I want to him!”
A friend said “Andrew treated David like a slave. He would give David the car key and bark ‘here, go get the car’.”
With David having such a hard time maintaining contact with Andrew, he started to suspect that Andrew was seeing other people. Andrew was like “well I never said I’d be exclusive, when we’ve only gone out on a few dates.” David was like.. Ok, that’s fair.
But David started to feel the lack of being pursued. It’s like he was always chasing Andrew down.
One night, Andrew went to visit David and they ran into an old crush of Andrew’s. He and David took a little walk together and he warned David “Andrew is a pathological liar. It’s crazy, you don’t know who he is. Don’t put anything you’re not prepared to lose in that basket.”
He said that David listened, but it seemed he wasn’t ready to let Andrew go. “He was very commitment oriented– very Minnesota, very trustworthy and reliable.”
In July of 1996, Norman took Andrew to France, and Andrew of course blew through his allowance and then some. He decided that he should have a new Mercedes SL 600 convertible that cost $125,895, and he gave Norman an ultimatum saying that if he doesn’t get him the car, he would leave. Norman said “sorryyyyy” and Andrew packed his bags and left a note saying “I’ve moved on.” but then he called and left Norman a voicemail with his new cell number, and fully expected him to call. He really thought Norman would crumble without him. He did not, and Andrew was forced to move into a weekly studio apartment rental.
By now, Andrew had been promising David for months that they would spend the 4th of July together. But then he would send David a postcard saying “I may not be able to come home in July.” He implied his family was involved in sinister activity. Anyway the 4th came and Andrew didn’t come through, and David finally had had it, and he cut Andrew off.
Andrew was left with nobody. He wrote Norman a letter saying “I’ll let you decide how much palimony you want to give me to compensate for my year of service.” Noran gave him $15,000 and took off to Europe with new friends he had met through Andrew. When Andrew tried to deposit this money, he tried to convince the teller not to report it to the IRS, which is a requirement for any check over $10,000. The teller refused.
So now that Andrew lost Norman, he was desperate to get David back. But David was starting to get real shady vibes. Andrew had once told him “there’s someone in prison right now who got my friends in trouble, and I’ve arranged to have him killed.”
Andrew started to realize that he had lost both David and Norman, so he decided to set his sights on the one person he still had– Jeff Trail.
Andrew told Jeff he was coming to visit him for a few days, but that visit stretched into two weeks. Andrew went and got his hair cropped to look just like Jeff’s. He spent the day with Jeff’s boyfriend, Daniel, and went on and on about how David is the love of his life, the man he wants to marry. Daniel got the impression that he and David were a loving, long-term couple. He also kept getting Daniel drinks and brought him home drunk, which made Jeff pissed. He was getting fed up with Andrew and he actually called up Daniel’s mother and told her to do anything she can to keep Daniel from getting mixed up with Andrew.
Andrew was really feeling a sense of rejection now. He falls deeper into a crystal meth addiction and his appearance starts to suffer. His sense of self-worth was directly tied to the things he had and the people he knew and the things people would do for him. If he wasn’t accepted by wealthy people and high society, he didn’t know who he was. He was lost.
Jeff Trail ended up finding a job in Minneapolis and Andrew saw this as an opportunity to call up David and ask for his help to show Jeff around.
But like Jeff also didn’t ask for this, Andrew would just barge in unannounced like “ok im here to show you around town!” and then like always, the trip would extend to like two weeks and Jeff was starting to get fed the fuck up. He finally told him “dude, either go check into a hotel or go home now.”
David wasn’t prepared to have Andrew around either, and was also super uncomfortable to have Andrew barging in on his life. By now, David had a new boyfriend named Robbie, who was a tall handsome black man. Andrew knew all about Robbie, but he still told David “I’ve changed, I’m becoming a better person and I have YOU to thank for that.” This was totally taking advantage of David’s need to help the underdog. He couldn’t not help somebody so wounded.
Andrew returned to Minneapolis in mid-November and attended a party that David and Robbie were throwing. The night before the party, Jeff and Andrew went to a bar where Andrew started talking to a guy named Joe. Andrew begged Joe to let him come home with him because he didn’t have any place to stay. So they went to bed together but immediately had an argument about who would be on top and who would be on bottom. Both of them were like “I am not a bottom.”
Apparently, Andrew spent the next two hours all over him, affectionately smothering him. But when Joe would try to touch him back, he’d freak out and say “no, don’t touch me!” so they never had sex.
But, the next morning Joe remembers waking up having to fight Andrew off of him, and he had numerous hickeys on his neck. Andrew had also bitten him on the chest and leftugly bruises.
Joe couldn’t wait to get him out of his house, so he drove him to Jeff’s house. Andrew said he was cold and borrowed a $1,200 jacket from Joe. Joe saw him wearing it out later in the week but was like “fuck it, I’ll take the loss.”
The night of the party, people noticed that Andrew’s appearance had changed. He was wearing a nice suit that didn’t quite fit him anymore. He was plump and looked tired and worn. Plus, his behavior was downright bizarre.
First, he loaded a plate with hors d’oeurves and fed them to the dog, after Rob had explicitly told everyone not to feed him anything. The dog promptly threw up.
Then Andrew picked up a picture of Rob and David together and said “this looks interesting.” he was trying to get a reaction, but nobody reacted. Then he walked over to the food table that had a couple of candles on it, and he nudged a paper plate toward the flame. A friend of Jeff and David’s named Rick pulled the plate away. Undeterred, Andrew then put some napkins on the plate and shoved it into the candle flame. Then he dropped the flaming plate on the table and walked away as the smoke alarm went off.
Rob (David’s bf) grabbed it and held it under the faucet.
Then, Andrew went and started rubbing up against David and whispering in his ear, and Rob pulled him into a corner and slammed him up against the wall and said “excuse me, I understand you’re excessive. I’m not gonna have you pressing up against my man. While I am here, you respect my presence or you won’t be here.” Andrew backed off saying “alright man, it was a whim.”
David was like “omg THANK YOU” to Rob.
After the party in an elevator, somebody actually said to Andrew “you are SUCH an asshole.” He was unaffected, like it wasn’t the first time he’d heard that.
Andrew started frequenting a bathhouse called The Mustang Spa, which was open 24 hours. He started like, living there. The owners said he didn’t think Andrew was going in there to have sex, but rather just walking around annoying people, telling them his outlandish stories. He was also looking for clients to sell drugs to. He was often hanging out with a couple of junkies who were clearly using him for his drugs.
Kaufman, the owner, says
“People start living at the baths because they don’t want to focus on what’s going on in their lives. They go into the bars til they close, then the baths til they close, so they’re never alone and don’t have to think about anything. Cocooning. They get very into themselves, very weird. You have to put them out.” He kept a close eye on Andrew and kicked him out when he became too much.
Andrew was delving more and more into violent sexual fantasies. He would see a cute boy walking down the street and say something like “oh, I’d like to electrocute him.”
Around February 1997, 2 separate bartenders noted independently that whenever anyone complained about somebody’s behavior, Andrew would say “well, we’ll just have to kill him.”
David and Rob broke up and David would soon get a new boyfriend named Cedric Rucker. He would kind of try to avoid hanging out with Andrew, but Andrew was always insisting or offering some amazing trip or something, or offering to pay for his friend’s wedding, and David was indeed kind of dazzled so he would keep taking expensive presents from him, while still telling him he didn’t want to be anything more than friends.
They went on a trip to LA with a couple of friends and Andrew again, tried to get David into bed with him. But David didn’t let up. He was in control now, and Andrew’s rage was building.
Andrew went back to San Francisco. One night, he met a 26 year old man named Tim Schwager at a dance club. Andrew took him back to a fancy hotel. Tim says his memories about that night are hazy, assuming he might have drank too much or possibly may have been drugged.
Like Joe, Tim had memory flashbacks of trying to fight Andrew off during the night, and then woke up with three hickeys. He remembered going to sleep wearing underwear but woke up totally nude.
Before Andrew returned to Minneapolis for the final time, he stayed in San Francisco, clearly on drugs. He went out for the night and ran into friends and was weirdly aggressive. Like, his friends said he would come up behind them and pick them up and spin them around, or he would playfully put them into a chokehold that was wayyy too tight. Like his friends were straight up like “dude you’re hurting me!” or “you’re embarrassing me.” because he would do that thing where he’d pick somebody up and kind of jump them up and down and it looks like you’re humping them. it was over the top and weird af.
Andrew hung out with his old friend Steven and talked about them like they were in love and made no mention of the fact that David had rejected him. He said things like “he’s the man for me.” Steven asked “why do you say that?” Andrew’s face contorted and he let out a loud, manic laugh and said “well he lets me do anything I want to him!” and just started cracking up.
So Steven was like “.... like what?” Andrew was like “ohh you know, cages, harnesses around the genitals, latex masks..” Steven was kind of freaked out by this.
Then Andrew invited him back to his hotel, kind of implying they were going to try some of those things.
Steven was like “Andrew, we’ve been friends for 8 years. Don’t you think this is a bit silly?”
Andrew was like “yea, maybe you’re right.”
Steven picked up on the fact that he was seeing a different side of Andrew than he was used to. He was no longer upbeat and happy, he now seemed unfulfilled and troubled.
By April 1997, Andrew had racked up over $40,000 on two credit cards and was totally broke. He had filed for bankruptcy and got American Express to purchase a ticket to Minneapolis. Nobody knew at the time that this was a one-way ticket. He began giving away his possessions, and told friends he had unfinished business with Jeff Trail.
And that’s where we’re going to leave off for Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2!
So we left off on part one with Andrew giving away his possessions and booking a one-way flight to Minneapolis to visit his friends Jeff Trail and David Madson (who he was in love with). Andrew was in a lot of debt, had no sugar daddy and no friends, he was addicted to crystal meth and gaining weight and looking scruffy, and was just feeling this sense of rejection that was making him crumble.
Neither Jeff nor David wanted Andrew around but they couldn’t bring themselves to tell him. David was really uncomfortable and afraid that Andrew was into shadier shit than he could imagine, but he was also pretty distraught because his old stalker, Greg Nelson, had resurfaced. He was in a coffee shop when he looked up and saw his stalker staring at him through the window. A few days later, he found his jeep dented and scratched across one side.
Andrew’s plan was first to try to get back together with David, and if not, Jeff would become the object of his desire. Jeff talked to his sister about his concerns with Andrew, and she was like “look, you have to tell Andrew that you have a new boyfriend; you owe it to him.” So Jeff had this talk with Andrew, and Andrew was not happy to hear it. Shortly after that, Jeff called up his friend Mike and told him that he and Andrew “had a huge falling out” and that he never intended to speak to him again.
But by the end of April, Jeff relented and it was decided that Andrew was going to stay with both David and Jeff on the weekend of April 25. Jeff made plans to leave town that weekend and leave a key for Andrew.
Another thing that might be important– Jeff had borrowed a lot of money from Andrew. Andrew helped him build his own expensive taste and Jeff was blowing a lot of money on toys like electronics and fancy tennis racquets and shit. This might be one reason Jeff wasn’t ready to cut ties with Andrew, maybe he felt like he owed him.
But Andrew started pressuring Jeff to sell drugs like steroids for him. It’s conceivable that Andrew’s reasoning for coming to see Jeff was to collect the money he owed him, or to offer the steroids as a way to pay him back
It was becoming clear to Andrew that David and Jeff were less and less willing to allow him to extend his stays with them. He was being rejected by these two guys who he had lavished time, attention, and thousands of dollars on. He felt that he had been used and then tossed away, leaving him alone, insecure, depressed, and overweight. And it was all their fault.
Andrew packed up a duffle bag, including handcuffs, pornographic videos, and five glass vials of illegal steroids (most likely for selling, or as a love offering for David who loved to work out. Andrew never worked out and is unlikely to have used steroids himself).
On that friday morning, Andrew’s got a ride to the airport from Ken Higgins. Andrew told Ken that he hated Gianni Versace. He was deeply jealous and resentful of the rich and famous Italian designer who “came from nothing” and who through “hard work” became an international celebrity and gay icon.
Andrew arrived in Minneapolis around 5:20PM. David picked him up and took him to a dinner with some friends. The friends noticed that David did not seem to be at ease.
On Saturday night, they went to dinner and then hit up some bars, and then they split up. Andrew apparently spent that night at Jeff’s apartment, but nobody knows for sure.
Because there were no witnesses to the crimes—and everyone involved is dead—there is no way to know exactly what transpired over this weekend. So I’m going to tell you what we do know.
MURDERS START DAY
At 3AM early Sunday, David’s neighbor was awakened by loud yelping sounds that lasted until about 7AM. He later told police he thought it was David having sex with his partner, whom he had been dating for about a month.
Later that morning, David called up a lawyer friend to cancel a brunch they had set up.
Around 10AM Sunday (4/27/97), Andrew was at Jeff’s house when a friend, Jerry Davis called for Jeff to tell him about a softball game that afternoon, that Jeff rarely missed. Andrew took the message and jotted down a note on a yellow legal pad, signing it “Love, Andrew.” He also made some long distance calls while there, including a call to Norman Blachford to say goodbye. He told him he realized their relationship was really over and he was moving to San Francisco and would stay in touch. Norman was puzzled, because he was like “I already knew you were moving but ok.”
That morning, Jeff drove his boyfriend, Jon,to his job at the Mall of America. On the way, he told Jon that he had to talk to Andrew about something pretty important, but didn’t elaborate any further. Jeff went to Jerry’s softball game where he told a friend that he was going home early to bake a cake for his boyfriend Jon’s birthday, adding that a few friends were coming over. Jeff went back to his apartment around 3 o’clock, but did not see Andrew.
At about 5:30PM, Andrew was seen getting into the elevator of David’s apartment alone, and getting off on David’s floor. He did not want to make small talk.
Jon went home from work and took a nap, and at 8:00PM Andrew called and left a voice message saying “give me a call (at Jeff’s number). I’d like to see you.”
Jeff immediately called him back, but he told Jon that he was willing to blow Andrew off so they could go see a movie or something. Jon was like “no way, i want to dance on my birthday. Go handle that and I’ll see you later” So he told Jon that he would meet up with him between 10 & 10:30 at a club called the Gay Nineties. Unfortunately, Jeff would not make it.
Around 9pm, Jeff got in his 1996 Honda Civic to meet Andrew in a coffee shop.
It’s really unclear what “important thing” Jeff was going to see Andrew about. He was avoiding him HARD, so why was he going agreeing to meet him on his boyfriend’s birthday?
Well we don’t know for sure but we think that Andrew stole his gun and Jeff’s trying to get it back, because right now in David’s apartment, Andrew has Jeff’s gun.
At 9:08PM, a phone call was made to David’s apartment. The caller ID showed that the call came from the coffee shop where Andrew was supposed to meet Jeff, so its presumed that this was Jeff calling Andrew. David also received a call from the loft’s intercom entrance at 9:45. The loft didn’t have a buzzer so you’d have to call from downstairs and wait for someone to come down and let you in, either Andrew or David.
So it seems (to me anyway) like Jeff showed up at the coffee shop to meet Andrew and called him to tell him, and Andrew told him to come up to David’s apartment instead.
David habitually walked his dog before the 10 oclock news came on and may have been on his way out at 9:45. So (its believed that) David let Jeff in, and the two of them, with the dog Prints, took the elevator back up to David’s apartment.
When they got there, Andrew was waiting with a claw hammer in his hand.
As soon as they walked in, Andrew struck Jeff with the hammer.
The first blow to his skull landed with knockout force. He must’ve raised his arms to shield himself because he was hit several times on his left wrist and hand. Then he crumpled to the ground as he was hit with a total of 27 repeated blows to the face, head, and upper torso, with both the blunt and claw sides of the hammer. Jeff’s watch stopped at 9:55PM, which helps back up the timing of the attack (if it stopped from the blows).
One of the blows was delivered before the door had slammed shut, sending a splatter of blood across the hallway. Pieces of brain matter lodged into the door frame itself.
A neighbor reported to police that around that time, he heard someone shouting “get the fuck out!” (I think this was David yelling at Andrew) before hearing the door slam, followed by thumping noises that went on for 30-45 seconds. Then he heard footsteps racing down the hall and water running. He stuck his head out of the door, but saw no one.
Andrew knew how to successfully manipulate David, and he essentially told him “I could pin the whole thing on YOU.”
Remember, David did not like violence, so he basically watched the whole attack go down, totally horrified. Also, David was so sketched out by Andrew, that his mindset was like “what if he has mob connections? I don’t know that.” He didn’t have many options so he had to tread lightly.
They rolled up Jeff’s body in an Oriental area rug, and dragged him across the loft and rested him against the back of the couch. They didn’t do much of anything to conceal the body though, as it was visible from the front door and his feet were sticking out, and then they like threw a little throw blanket over him. They used cloths and paper towels to clean up the blood, but they left a lot of it, including two sets of bloody footprints. They threw Jeff’s watch and his navy ring, along with the bloody hammer and some bloody cloths, into a bag and placed it under the table. Jeff’s pager was left on his body, where it would go off repeatedly over the next few days.
Jeff’s boyfriend, Jon, was waiting for Jeff at the Gay Nineties club. At 3AM he went to Jeff’s apartment. He went to bed and at 8AM (now 4/28/97), he realized Jeff still wasn’t home and he started calling hospitals and the local jail. He called Jeff at work, but there was no answer. He spent all day Monday trying to reach his friend, Jerry Davis, but he didn’t respond.
Jon called the police, but they were not interested. They said that he could call Jeff’s parents for them to report him missing, or he can wait 72 hours to report it himself. They basically told him “he’s a big boy and he can do whatever he wants.” implying that he was maybe just ghosting his boyfriend. He also wasn’t trying to call Jeff’s parents in case he was fine, because he didn’t want to out him.
David also missed work on Monday (4/28/97), even though he had an important meeting. That afternoon, David’s neighbor, Kathleen, came down the elevator of the Harmony lofts, and when it opened on the ground floor, she was face to face with David and Andrew.
Later, she saw what looked like Andrew and David walking Prints (David’s dalmatian) on a leash, which was unusual.
David’s coworker and friend, Linda, was concerned that David hadn’t shown up for the important meeting and nobody was able to reach him. She and another friend, Laura, went to his loft to check on him at 12:15pm They knocked on the door and heard the dogs pawing and scratching at the door, but nobody opened it. Linda, who was with David when he found his car all keyed up by his stalker, was now becoming really concerned that he might be in real trouble. They called the police, and they didn’t want to go in the apartment. They were like, “if we damage the locks we’ll have to negotiate payment with David and if the dog becomes aggressive we might have to shoot it.” The girls were like “no don’t hurt the dog” so they were like “thanks anyway” and decided to call the superintendent of the building. They told her everything and she knocked on David’s door, and when nobody answered except the dog barking, she decided to open the door with her own key. Once they opened the door, they immediately sat the rolled up rug with a body inside of it. They initially thought it was David.
The police were called again and homicide came out, and Sergeant Bob Tichich, said “We knew right away it may be a gay thing”.
I’d like to know… what the fuck does that mean? What about a body rolled up in a rug with the legs sticking out says “looks gay to me”?
They found Andrew’s black duffle bag, which contained the steroids and the porn and handcuffs, and they instantly assumed that it all belonged to David who was performing a sex scene.
By now, David and Andrew were riding down the highway in David’s red jeep. They would be on the road together for a few days and again, there are no witnesses to what exactly happened other than a couple spottings here and there.
On Tuesday April 29th, Jeff’s pregnant sister went into premature labor. His buddy Jerry Davis tried to reach Jeff’s parents to tell them about Jeff’s disappearance, but they were unreachable because their daughter was in labor.
By now, Jeff’s job was wondering where he had been. Jon finally got a hold of Jerry Davis who hadn’t heard from Jeff. Jon kept trying the police who were like “so who are you? Are you his lover?” and jeff is just like “..well yes but hes still fucking missing after going to see this psychopath.” they were less than helpful.
On that day, police released a missing persons notice for Jeff Trail, not knowing that he was the body rolled up in the rug.
Eventually they realized that the body in the rug had black hair and David was a blonde, so it couldn’t be him in the rug, and therefore, David must be the killer on the run.
Sergeant Tichich, who had no tact whatsoever, called up David’s parents to find out if they had heard from David, and they were of course concerned, like “what’s going on, whats he up to?”
Tichich said to them “you know he’s a homosexual, don’t you?” as if that fucking explained anything.
The body was finally removed from the rug on Wednesday (4/30/97) and examined and discovered to be Jeff’s body. Jeff’s boyfriend, Jon, had been relentlessly calling David’s house looking for Jeff and Officer Tichich picked up the phone. He was like who are you? And Jon was like “I’m Jeff’s boyfriend, i’ve been looking for him for days. I called the police multiple times.” and Officer Tichich was like “that’s news to me.”
Tichich informed him over the phone that Jeff was dead.
The police were trying to confirm whether the black duffel bag belonged to David or not, so Tichich called up David’s friend to try to identify the duffel bag and when she showed up, she was like “did you check the identification tag?” and she pulled it open and it had Andrew’s name on it. And Tichich was like “how embarrassing for me, I guess you didn’t have to come down here.”
It wasn’t until Thursday (5/01) that David’s parents were notified that David was missing; at that point, David and Andrew were long gone.
Between the Tuesday and Friday after Trail's death, someone reported seeing Madson's red Jeep Cherokee driving north on Interstate 35, according to Vanity Fair, but the witness did not see the driver's face.
On May 3rd, after being missing for 6 days, David’s body was found in tall grass at the edge of Rush Lake by fishermen. He had been shot three times, through the eye, the head and the back. His car keys were on the ground but his car – and Andrew – were nowhere to be found. It’s widely reported that David begged Andrew to spare him. He was a peacemaker until the very end; the only sign of a struggle is a bruise on his hand where he raised his hand to deflect the bullet. The shots came from a gun owned by Jeff Trail, suggesting that Andrew had stolen the gun from him.
It’s believed that Andrew had actually killed him days earlier, because we know from a parking ticket that the jeep was in Chicago on Wednesday 4/30/97 and David’s body was found in Minnesota; so most likely he killed David on Monday or Tuesday before making it out of the state, and just wasn’t found until Saturday.
On Saturday May 4th, Andrew would claim another victim in Chicago. It’s really really unclear whether this was a random victim of opportunity, or if Andrew knew this guy or had any motive at all for killing him.
This was Lee Miglin.
Lee Miglin was a guy I mentioned briefly in part 1. He was a prominent real estate developer and his wife, Marilyn, worked with the Home Shopping Network. Lincoln Aston also worked with the home shopping network, but we don’t know if there’s any connection there.
Police found Miglin, 72, with his throat slashed ear-to-ear and his feet bound with masking tape. He had been tortured with a saw and a screwdriver, his ribs had been broken, he had been beaten and stabbed, and his throat had been slashed with a gardener's bow saw.
Miglin’s head had been covered with a plastic bag, and masking tape wrapped around his throat. However, holes had been cut in the bag so Miglin could breathe. The Medical Examiner found no defensive wounds on Miglin.
Miglin's body was found on the floor of the garage behind his home, but there were questions as to whether Miglin was actually killed in the garage. The Cook County Medical Examiner's office said his clothes were saturated in blood, but the area around him was clean – suggesting that his body may have been moved.
Also, Lee’s body was wearing clothing but there were no cuts in them. So Andrew either like lifted up Lee’s shirt before stabbing him, or Lee was not wearing any clothing while being stabbed and then Andrew re-dressed him after the attack.
Police also noticed the suspect (Andrew) had helped themselves to a ham in the refrigerator, and left a half-eaten apple behind. He also took a shower and shaved before fleeing in Miglin's Lexus. He left black hairs in the sink, making it clear that someone other than Lee was in the house (Lee had white hair).
Detectives initially believed Miglin did not know his killer or killers – but rather believed it was a crime of opportunity, and Miglin was targeted because he was rich and vulnerable.
Miglin's family maintain that the killing was random, but former FBI agent Gregg McCrary argues it is unlikely that Cunanan would have bound and tortured Miglin without some motive. There was no forced entry and Lee had no defensive wounds.
In American Crime Story, they portray it as if Lee is another one of Andrew’s sugar daddies, or a client for his escort services. But there is no physical evidence of that, no real confirmable connection, and again Lee’s family denies that Lee ever knew Andrew.
An initial theory told to Morrell by sources was that Miglin had parked his Lexus in a garage and walked across the alleyway, and was in the process of opening his back gate when someone stuck what Miglin believed to be a loaded gun in his back – and ordered him into his other garage. That doesn’t make a lot of sense though when you look at the location of the garage.
Lee’s house had a driveway with 3 parking spots. His garage was separate and not directly behind the house, but it was actually kind of diagonal and like 30 yards away from his backyard. Unless you knew the family, there was no reason for anybody to know that the Miglin’s had a garage or another car over there. So if Lee parked his Lexus in the garage and Andrew approached him, is it possible that Andrew put a gun to Lee’s head and said “show me where you live?” in broad daylight? It’s possible, I guess, but still kind of weird that Lee would just agree to walk him the 30 yards and take him to his home.
Some believe that Andrew knew his way around the house, indicating that he may have been there before. And furthermore, the way he ate the food and shaved and showered– how could he be sure that Lee’s wife Marilyn wouldn’t come home? Did he know that she was out of town?
Morrell's source said in that garage, Miglin was nearly decapitated with a pair of five-foot-long pruning shears, which were recovered in the garage.
That’s another thing.. Why the overkill? I mean he bludgeoned Jeff which was pretty gnarly and then he shot David.. But with Lee, he was an old man and he literally tortured him and broke his bones, stabbed him a bunch of times, wrapped up the guy’s head… why the escalation here, you know?
I ‘ve heard (and i learned this from criminal minds so correct me if it’s wrong) that for sexual sadists, stabbing can be a sexual fantasy that they’re carrying out.
William Hagmaier, head of Child Abduction and Serial Killer Unit of FBI, said “there was a tremendous amount of overkill. Those are the kinds of things you see sometimes in homosexual murders– this tremendous stabing over and over… If Miglin is a total stranger, then Miglin reminds him of somebody else that he had a tremendous amount of anger toward. Or maybe Miglin isn’t a total stranger.” Hagmaier also adds that the brutality could’ve been triggered by drug use, or maybe Andrew just saw a particularly sadistic movie. “This could be like living out a fantasy from some movie or book that he’s read. Ted Bundy used to do that with his victims. He’d dye their hair, cut it in different ways, put different clothes on them, because he was reenacting covers of detective magazines.
Steve Kives, FBI agent in profiling unit in charge of Andrew’s case–
“With a city the size of Chicago, the chances of him just happening to go down that alley behind Miglin’s townhouse and then seeing him in the garage– how remote is that?””
How about this– this is just my theory now. Maybe Lee Miglin is a surrogate for Norman Blachford.
What if Andrew actually knew Duke and was just aware that Duke had a rich– and perhaps closeted– father?
The fact that Andrew attacked Lee Miglin’s face so much, and he did the same with Jeff Trail, indicated to the experts that there’s more likelihood it was personal. “Everyone has hands and feet, but what angers you the most is the mouth. That’s where the venom comes from. Usually people who are angry with people, it’s because of something they said; particularly if there was any kind of passion or romance involved. They try to disfigure the face because, ‘this is the face that laughed at me. This is the mouth that made me feel bad.’
There was a guy named Ron Williams who used to go out to dinner with Andrew, and he says that in 1994, Andrew told him that he had a business connection, a rich older Chicago investor that he named “Duke”. Interestingly, Lee Miglin has a son named Duke. Another guy, Jack Shaffer, said that he had run into the Miglin’s a few years back at the airport and they were waiting for Duke to join them. Duke showed up with a friend who made a great impression. When showed a picture of Andrew, he went “yep, that’s the guy I saw with Duke.”
So maybe Andrew knew Duke and was looking for him when he found Lee? Maybe he had already met Lee through Duke? Maybe he hung out with both of them??
The investigators tried really, really hard to find a connection between Lee or Duke Miglin and Andrew Cunanan and they found nothing. Nothing concrete, nothing they could confirm.
Lee’s wife Marilyn returned from her trip when she came home to her house empty and a few things out of place. Things were out of place, like a half-eaten pint of ice cream on the counter and a ham sitting on a desk. Lee was very organized and neat and would never leave out of place like that. He and their green Lexus appeared to be missing. Marilyn got the feeling that someone else had been inside their home.
Police found Madson's red Jeep parked on the street near Miglin's house. Miglin's Lexus was equipped with a car phone, which, according to records, was activated on May 4 in Union County, Pennsylvania.
Police began tracking the vehicle through the car phone, and the fucking media released that information where Andrew heard it and then tried destroying the phone.
On Friday May 9th, a guy named Bill Reese who worked in a cemetery, stopped to pick up mail on his way back to work. Andrew either saw him and followed him there, or he happened upon the cemetery where he worked.
Cunanan shot and killed 45-year-old cemetery caretaker William Reese.
This one really was just a crime of opportunity. He made him kneel down and then shot him in the head with Jeff’s gun, just so that he could steal his 1995 red Chevrolet pickup truck. Cunanan used this truck to drive to Florida. He abandoned the green Lexus and police quicky figured out that this was Andrew, killing the 4th person in 12 days.
When he abandoned the Lexus though, he left a trail of evidence.
When he abandoned the Lexus, he left Lee Miglin’s wallet and credit cards in the glove compartment, as well as a plastic garbage bag with one of Lee’s shoes (the other was left on Lee’s body). He used suede gloves while killing Lee, and he left those bloody gloves in the trunk as well. He left two photographs in the car, one of Andrew and his friends at a party, the other of him and his buddy Robbins posing in swim trunks. Andrew was like leaving breadcrumbs for the police.
Andrew was very much at large now. People were scared now, Andrew was at large and traveling, and Bill Reese was killed in such a remote area that people were worried they couldn’t even hide.
so now all of the gay community and everyone who has ever met Andrew is like “omg am I next?!” everybody’s probably thinking back trying to remember if they ever said anything to tick him off or offend him.
The police was focusing their search on the red truck he was driving. They questioned a few people but like didn’t want to hear anything anyone had to say. They would ask people “where would andrew go next? Who would be his next victim?”
Multiple people tried to tell them about Andrew’s personality traits and they refused to listen, even saying that his “being gay” was irrelevant.
….is it though?
Even the profiling unit tried to give insight police and the rest of the FBI didn’t want to listen. One FBI agent said “we already knew who Cunanan was. We interviewed hundreds of his associates. We don’t need the profiling unit to tell us he’s going to hang out in gay bars.”
They really didn’t give the profiling unit any credit.
Which reminds me a lot of criminal minds when the BAU comes in to help with the murder and the local police are like “awww why do we need them?! We can do this without them, honest!”
The FBI’s refusal to talk about Andrew’s homosexuality was problematic. There was a general unease among law enforcement when working with homosexuals. One investigator said “we used to call them ‘fagicides’.”
A coordinator of the Minneapolis Gay & Lesbian Antiviolence Project said “75% of gays would not call law enforcement [regarding crimes]. They may not be out. They may feel shame or guilt.. There’s also a lot of distrust and a history of slow movement and failure to respond.”
Another activist talked about how this was a lifestyle issue. For the most part, gay people are able of moving through the mainstream, but there are segments of the community who aren’t. some have had bad experiences with straight people and don’t want to be involved with them. Some grew up in small towns where its a huge stigma and so the only way to have contact with other gays is to have illicit sex in bars or parks and in the dark, so they learned that that was the only way to be gay. And cops were not allies to this community.
After Bill Reese’s body was found, reporter Maureen Orth caught wind of the story. She sensed that the story might be worth reporting on and she got the green light from Vanity Fair to begin reporting. Over the next few weeks, she set out to learn everything she could about Andrew Cunanan.
On May 12, police reached out to Andrew’s mother, MaryAnn. She told them she hadn’t heard from him in over 2 years. Andrew began staying at the Normandy Plaza Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, where he paid $29 per night in cash.
May 13th Phillip Merril (Liz Cote’s fiance) called the FBI to volunteer his and Liz’s help finding Andrew. According to Phillip, the FBI asked him “where do you think he’ll go and who do you think he’ll get in touch with?” Phillip said “Versace.” He was sure of it. He also mentioned Harry de Wildt, the socialite who was hanging out with Gianni Versace on the night he supposedly met Andrew.
But the police didn’t include this in their report, and refused to comment on that.
He told them to think of places that could appear on Robin Leach (Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous). Those were the types of places Andrew would go.
He also told them to warn the owners of 7-11s to look out for anyone shopping for Fritos and milk…
Apparently he liked to eat Fritos and drink milk and he would sometimes go a day and a half without eating any real food in between.
An absolute psychopath.
In early June, the police questioned Norman Blachford about Andrew Cunanan and his whereabouts.
I can imagine this conversation going something like “So Mr. Blachford, what can you tell us about Andrew Cunanan?”
And then Norman was probably like “well he’s an arabian prince who was married to a jewish princess and owns a plantation in Manilla..”
No but seriously. Norman didn’t really know much about Andrew. But he did tell the police that he had a hunch that Andrew might be in Miami, particularly the South Beach area. He had no specific information about why, but he said that Andrew had told him that he’d visited the area before and Blachford just thought that it would be a logical place for Andrew to blend in.
Blachford’s suggestion does not appear in FBI files either.
Aside from Phil Merril and Norman Blachford, two of Andrew’s friends also said that they mentioned to the FBI that Andrew had met Gianni Versace, but this was not noted in their police reports either.
Versace’s name simply did not appear in the FBI’s files at all prior to his death.
The FBI made a flier with Andrew’s face on it and 3,000 copies were to be distributed in the Miami area. But they weren’t. The cops claimed that they were passed out, but realistically, the only flier that was up was in the police station. So the public still didn’t recognize Andrew and he was able to hide in plain site for like 2 months.
The cops all pointed the finger at each other, blaming each other for whatever happened to the fliers.
On Friday, July 11th, Andrew pawned a stolen item using his real ID with his real name, despite knowing that police routinely reviewed pawn shop records. The pawn shop over faxed his information to the police department, but the detective in charge then took 3 days off of work.
On Sunday July 13th, Andrew retreated to his hotel where the landlady told him “your rent is due today.” he told her he was tired and asked if he could pay in the morning to avoid having to go to his room and then come back. She told him it was fine, since he had been staying there for 2 months at this point.
That evening around 9pm, he went out and got himself a sub sandwich, and somebody recognized him and called the police. They were like can you describe him? And he was like “uh YEA he’s the guy on America’s Most Wanted, the gay guy who killed his lover and like 3 other people?”
They apparently had no idea who he was talking about. Nonetheless, police showed up within minutes but by then Andrew was gone.
Andrew was sighted that same evening at a dance club called Twist, where he danced one dance with a hairdresser named Brad, who he told his name was “Andy”.
On the dancefloor, Andrew had his hands all over Brad.
When Brad asked him “what do you do for a living” he went “I’m a serial killer….
….HAHAHA just kidding, I’m an investment banker.”
And then he disappeared into the crowd.
The rest of the night, Andrew was trying to act fabulous. He was chatting people up, it was clear he didn’t know anyone. He was dressed nicely, but at the bar he just ordered water and he bummed a cigarette. (He probably didn’t have any money).
In the morning (Saturday), the clerk at the hotel called Andrew at 10AM, and Andrew said he’d be down in ten minutes to pay the rent. At about 10:30, the clerk realized that Andrew had skipped out the backgate. Andrew had shaved his head before leaving.
I don’t know what Andrew did or where he stayed on Sunday but Monday (7/14/97) he was spotted asking people for a dollar at a pizza place, and later that night he was supposedly spotted at another club pretending that he lived in a luxurious building on the beach.
On Tuesday morning, July 15th, Andrew was up bright and early, and so was Gianni Versace. Versace decided to take a walk to get some magazines from a News Cafe just 3 blocks from his villa, and walked back home around 8:40am. Versace walked up to his iron gate and put his key into the lock. A neighbor glanced back at him and he calmly smiled at her. Then Andrew rapidly walked up the steps and held out his hand, holding Jeff Trail’s gun, and shot Versace at close range.
He was hit in the neck, right behind his left ear and cheek. The first bullet cracked the base of his brain, fracturing his skull and tearing the upper part of his spinal cord and neck. The bullet flew out of his neck and hit one of the metal railings of the gate, before breaking apart. One of the bullet fragments hit a dove, which instantly died and fell on its back in front of the mansion.
After the first shot, Versace turned his head slightly when he was hit from even closer range with a second bullet through the right side of his face next to his nose. It lodged in his head and cracked the top of his skull.
Versace immediately slumped to the steps in a pool of blood. His neighbor was still standing there in shock.
Andrew calmly walked away.
Versace’s partner, Antonio D’amico heard the shop and ran outside. He was the first to find Versace, and he scried “no, no, no!” A friend of D’amico’s named Lazaro Quintana was coming over to hang out when he saw the scene. He looked at the neighbor and demanded “What happened?!” She was speechless and just pointed down the street at Andrew who was now halfway down the block. Quintana chased after him, shouting “you bastard!” He chased him into an alley, when Andrew turned and pointed a gun at him, and he gave up the chase.
A couple of garbage men witnessed the pursuit and told police that they believed they saw him running towards a parking garage. So the cops on patrol checked the garage just before 9am. At 9:12am a pile of sweaty clothes was found on the third level of the garage outside the passenger door of a red Chevy Pickup. It was a black tank top under a grey teeshirt, a pair of boxer shorts, and a black backpack. The clothes were sweaty. The truck’s license plate was frum South Carolina but when they ran a check on it they found nothing. Apparently the plates hadn’t been reported stolen… which is weird since the police was supposedly looking for this truck for weeks.
At 9:17am, an officer radioed that he saw someone on the roof wearing a red shirt and glasses.
He said “he might be part of the parking crew. He just peered over the edge. He’s just walking around. Dark skin, latin male. He looks like security for the building, wearing one of those kinds of shirts.” He was going from one corner of the garage roof to the other, just peering over the edges, but when one of the police officers made it up to the roof about 5 minutes later, Andrew disappeared.
A bloodhound following Andrew’s scent went directly to these 4 corners, so we’re confident this was indeed Andrew. I wonder if he like stole an employee’s shirt or something.
Versace lost consciousness and went brain dead immediately, though his heart was kept beating by paramedics who rushed him to the hospital.
The police showed up at his house, fumbling all over each other, and basically turned the home into their command post, which made the staff at the house uncomfortable. Like Antonio D’amico, Versace’s partner, was devastated and he just wanted to go be with Gianni. he was told “there’s nothing you can do at the hospital. You’re much more vital to the investigation.” He was like “fuck this” and insisted on going, so they had to remove police tape and move their cars to let him go.
Later that morning the police finally checked the VIN of the red truck and were like “hot damn, that’s the truck Cunanan was in!” and finally realized he was Versace’s killer.
Around 1pm that same day, two police officers walked by car belonging to a Miami FBI agent named Keith Evans, and in the backseat they saw boxes and boxes filled with fliers showing Andrew Cunanan’s face. Another mystery solved.
On Wednesday July 16th, the pawn shop owner who faxed the police when Andrew came in to pawn something, called the police to follow up. Remember, the detective in charge had taken 3 days off and got back the exact day that Versace was shot. So now again Miami PD is like “how embarrassing for us..”
They had no leads for Andrew at this point, except one. A guy who owned a sailboat found that his boat had been broken into, and in t he found old pita bread and newspapers opened to stories about the Versace killing.
He also saw a man who looked like Andrew sitting on a bench reading a navigational book that he realized was stolen from his boat.
Police checked the boat and were unable to find any forensic evidence, but they did find a red polo shirt.
The FBI followed a lead to a hotel and they were allowed to search rooms only after knocking and announcing who they were. They got to one room where they heard no response, so they busted in and started shooting. It ended up being a family who was sound asleep, and were killed in their sleep, by the police.
All in vain, as Andrew was not found at the hotel.
Andrew’s parents were contacted. MaryAnn was taken to San Francisco where they hid her in a witness protection program. Pete Cunanan was approached in the Philippines by a politician and a camera crew. Pete completely denied that Andrew was homosexual or remotely capable of killing Versace. He says he was unable to mourn his son without a news crew ambushing him.
During the investigation, a volunteer counselor named Mike Dudley came forward and said that in February 1997 (so just like 5 months earlier), Andrew came to him because he was worried he had contracted the AIDS virus. He described Andrew as nervous, partied-out, and that Andrwe said “if I find out who did this to me, I’m going to get them.”
July 17th update–http://edition.cnn.com/US/9707/17/versace.pm/index.html
Meanwhile, police said a videotape from a security camera at a hotel near Versace's home shows a man in shorts and a T-shirt running down an alley after the murder. Witnesses said the killer wore similar clothing.
By July 23rd, Andrew was still missing.
A guy named Fernando Carreira and his wife went to check on a houseboat that he managed (he looked after a few houseboat properties) and noticed that one of the locks was stuck or broken, and the other lock was unlatched.
They went inside and he said to his wife “somebody’s been here”. A little bed had been made on floor, a chair was set up like as a barricade, and then he saw two sandals and realized “somebody might be in here right now.”
Fernando keeps a handgun in his waistband so he pulled it out to conduct a search, and then, a loud shot rang out in the second floor master bedroom. It was really loud so he thought someone had fired at him and missed, so he and his wife ran out of there. They crouched in the bushes and watched the front door, and he was too nervous to dial 911 so he called his son and had him call. The police arrived within 4 minutes. They were taking no chances this time so they closed traffic on that street..
At 8pm they sprayed pepper and CS gas into the houseboat, and at about 9:30am they positively identified it to be Andrew Cunanan, eyes wide open with now a few days worth of beard. He had a gun in his hand and he appeared to have shot himself in the head.
Andrew’s autopsy revealed that he did not actually have HIV or AIDS.
After Andrew’s death, Pete Cunanan returned to the United States for the first time since 1988. He told to a Chicago Tribune correspondent that "my son is not like that," continuing, "He is innocent. He is not a homosexual; he had a Catholic upbringing and was an altar boy. . . . I don't believe he did what the American police say he did."
While it's unclear whether this film came to fruition, Modesto told the LA Times in 1997 that he and a Filipino filmmaker sought to "sleuth" out the truth regarding his son's suicide and killing spree. As Modesto always maintained his son's innocence, he hoped the movie would give him the opportunity to revisit some of the facts and interviews employed by investigators. Simultaneously, Modesto planned to return to Los Angeles in an effort to be named the executor of his son's estate. The money, he claimed, would go toward "a church, a chapel or a temple" in his son's memory.
Pete at this point has a new Filipina wife and spens his days scheming to find buried treasure that he believes the Japanese left in the Phillippines during WW2. He is a follower of Clare Prophet, who is a leader of a cult whose followers took to underground survivalist shelters in the hills of Montana to prepare for doomsday, which they believed would happen in 1990 and of course did not happen. The cult got smaller after that and splintered off into smaller sub-groups.
All of Andrew’s friends, loved ones, former roommates, his parents, everyone was offered money for pictures of Andrew and further information. Pete totally sold out and took as much money as he could.
The Trails and the Madsons avoided the media, but they were hardly left alone.
Rebecca Reese, the wife of victim Bill Reese, went into seclusion after her husband’s death. She made one appearance on camera while Andrew was still at large, mostly because she wanted people to know that her husband was not gay.
Some of Andrew’s friends were outed because of their connections to him, some were even disinherited because of it.
Soon after the manhunt ended, the FBI called representatives of a group of gay organizations for a meeting, and told them “we need to foster a better relationship, because if you’re being preyed upon by killers or victimized, we need to help.” The case prompted an outpouring in the gay press about the way gay crime is reported.
The Versace family continues to insist they and Gianni have no connection to Andrew Cunanan, and are angered that he wasn’t caught sooner.
Gianni Versace had survived a rare ear cancer as well as a bone-marrow cancer. He became really sick and depressed while on chemotherapy before beating it. If not for Andrew Cunanan, he may have gone on to live many years.
Photos & Videos
Andrew Cunanan's body removed from houseboat.