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- December 29, 1997
- Vol. 48
- No. 26
A Murder Binge Makes a Chilling Stranger An All-Too-Familiar Face
In July, when Cunanan shot and killed the Italian fashion designer, he gained both the attention he craved and a perverse link to that magical combination of fame and money. Cunanan liked to tell people that he came from a rich family or had his own business. What he really had was a sideline in drug dealing and a thing for S&M.
Before reaching Gianni Versace, Cunanan claimed four other victims in a two-week spree that began on April 27: ex-Navy lieutenant Jeffrey Trail, 28, a close friend; Minneapolis architect David Madson, 33, a former lover; Chicago developer Lee Miglin, 72, whose relationship to Cunanan, if any, remains a mystery; and William Reese, 45, a cemetery caretaker in New Jersey, whose pickup truck Cunanan stole for the last leg of his journey. Then he carried out the murder that would make him a household name, as well as a bogeyman who frightened millions with the thought that he could be just around the corner. "A fascinating, terrible creature of our time," says writer Dominick Dunne, who named a character Cunanan in his latest novel, Another City, Not My Own, about the O.J. Simpson trial.
As a fugitive, Cunanan behaved more like the quarry in a romantic pursuit. At nearly every crime scene, he left obvious clues. Cornered at last on a Miami Beach houseboat, he shot himself to death. His father, ex-stockbroker Modesto, is convinced that Andrew was a pawn in some vast conspiracy. "Things just do not add up," he laments. But perhaps the explanations are not all that mysterious. Cunanan loved to be sought after. And, for a few convulsive weeks last summer, he was the most wanted man in America.
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