Thursday, Mar. 01, 2007

The Versace Killing Spree, 1997

Dismissed by his mother as a "high class male prostitute" and defended by his father as an "altar boy," Andrew Cunanan is indelibly cast in popular memory as the drug-using gay spree killer with AIDS, even though no one is certain what drugs he was on, if any, during his murderous three month rampage in 1997 or even if he had been properly tested for HIV before or after his death. Starting out in California, he would kill five people in all: two former lovers, both in Minnesota; a rich man in Chicago from whom he stole a Lexus; a cemetery caretaker in New Jersey, from whom he took a pick-up truck, fearing that police were on to the Lexus; and, most infamously, he killed the glitzy fashion designer Gianni Versace in Miami. Cunanan, 27, finally killed himself in an unoccupied houseboat not two miles away from the scene of his last crime. From what is known of him, he liked to embellish his biography, loved to spend money he did not have and learned to deal drugs. He was fueled by envy, obsessed with status and fame. That, combined with the realization that his looks were failing — and thus his marketability to rich gay men — may have led to a panic. But only Cunanan knew for certain what his motives were. The high life can produce very low forms of existence.

From the Archive:
Tagged for Murder