Practice English Speaking&Listening with: What Drove The Man Who Killed Versace

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On the morning of the 15th of July 1997 one of the worlds most recognized fashion designers,

Gianni Versace, had gone for a morning stroll.

The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and on this particular day Versace had told his

assistant that he would pick up the days newspapers for a change.

As he returned to his Miami Beach mansion, papers in hand, a man came up behind him and

shot him through the cheek with a .40 caliber handgun.

As the 50-year old collapsed on the ground, the killer put one in the back of his head

to make sure the job was done.

That killer was called Andrew Cunanan, a 27-year old whose actions still perplex the police

and public.

His cold-blooded murder of the Italian designer was just a final chapter in a lurid story

of deceit, depravity and death.

Before we start with the main story we should tell you that Cunanan was not a typical serial


He was whats known as a spree killer, the difference being that while he might have

killed a number of victims over a period of months, he did not hide in plain site as serial

killers do.

Serial killers generally act out horrific sadistic fantasies, murdering, sometimes doing

terrible things with the corpses, and then many of them go to work and play badminton

with their beloved children.

A spree killer on the other hand sets out on a mission and doesnt stop until he is

arrested, or on many occasions, takes his own life.

A spree killer hardly covers his tracks, he doesnt wrestle with his dark fantasies,

he just lets hell break loose until the flames devour him.

Andrew Cunanan was born on August 31st, 1969.

His father was Filipino-American and his mother Italian-American.

As you should know by now after watching our shows on killers, what happens in childhood

is often a marker of what drove serial murderers to commit such heinous acts.

In the seminal serial killer book, “The Method and Madness of Monsters”, we are

told that Cunanan grew up in Rancho Bernardo, California, in quite a wealthy neighborhood.

He, his two sisters and one brother didnt want for anything, with the family becoming

quite well-off after the father left the U.S. Navy and became a stockbroker.

Andrew was said to be the favorite of his father, who even gave him the master bedroom.

The sisters later said their parents suspected Andrew was gay, but no one really talked about


It was a loving family, and according to the siblings the parents would have accepted the

fact their son was homosexual.

Andrew was a happy-go-lucky child and he was also very intelligent and did well at school.

So, what could go wrong?

Well, the answer to that lies in this perfect existence, because it all came crumbling down.

You see, while his parents wouldnt have minded his sexuality, Andrew was afraid to

tell them.

This is the beginning of him living a lie, a kind of double existence.

Not only that, there is evidence that in 1996 he could well have been the caller on a sexual

abuse hotline.

Although police say the evidence is tenuous, the person who called in to say he was an

altar boy and had been abused by a priest could have been Cunanan.

In school he was said to be very flamboyant, once turning up to a function dressed in a

bright red, tight leather jumpsuit.

He wanted to be noticed; he wanted to be different.

In his yearbook in 1987 he was voted, “Most likely never to be forgotten.”

Those fellow students of his certainly got that right.

Academically he was smart, with an IQ of 142; he had fluency in French, and some fluency

in Spanish.

He knew the bible back to front, could talk politics, history, philosophy; he could regale

people with fascinating stories and was said to be very witty.

He was also something of a refined kid, knowing how to verbalize the aromas of a good wine

and knowing where to eat when travelling in Italy.

The problem, though, with such popularity, such high-mindedness, is ego and pride.

Oh, how Andrew wanted to be special, and he tried very hard to make an impact on people.

But what goes up, must come down, and this charismatic kid was about to experience his

first great Fall.

Andrew was nineteen, at the peak of his powers, when his doting father was charged with embezzlement.

The father didnt wait for the judgment and just left the family, returning to the


The mother, now with four kids, was broke.

This perfect existence for Andrew was shattered, and rather than put the pieces back together

in the USA he followed his father to Asia.

Here he saw this man he had admired all his life living in abject squalor.

It was a bubble burst, a sight Andrew couldnt stand and so he returned to the U.S., his

carefully constructed identity in ruins.

Its also said at this time in life he started to show violent propensities, once pushing

his mother so hard against a wall her shoulder was dislocated.

Now we see a new Andrew, a bitterness and anger on the other side of his extravagant


He dropped out of college and instead found his good looks and charm could make him money

as a gay gigolo in San Francisco and San Diego.

He looked the part: lean, handsome, and he was great company.

In the early 90s he had a long client list of rich men, in cities all over the U.S..

If it wasnt gigolo work Andrew was doing he simply started hanging around with the

rich, and sometimes famous, and he took some of these wealthy guys as lovers.

He was often showered with gifts and given monthly stipends so he could live the high


At some point its said this is the time he met Versace, but the relationship between

the two remains a mystery.

Did they know each other well, or did they merely share a few words one night?

No one knows, because Andrew was a compulsive liar and would often tell his friends lies

about how he rubbed shoulders with celebrities.

It was later discovered that Cunanan was obsessed with Versace, but also Madonna, Tom Cruise,

John Travolta, Leonardo DiCaprio and Sylvester Stallone.

Its very likely one of them could have wound up being Cunanans victim.

They were all listed in something police later discovered and called the little black book.

So, there he was, receiving gifts from wealthy lovers or just renting himself out for 140

bucks night when he needed some extra cash.

He was known to leave $200 tips after $1,000 meals he shared with his friends.

Just like when he was in school, he wanted very much to be admired, and in his eyes it

was this decadence, the spending of money, that would gain him affection.

Of course that wasnt the truth, it only garnered him false admiration, the kind of

stuff that underneath can cause depression.

Still in 1996 he was living in a retried millionaires mansion, receiving $2,000 a month from that

rich man, a former art dealer, and driving an expensive sports car.

But again, this came crashing down and the two spilt.

At the time Cunanan had been dating this old, wealthy man, he had fallen in love with a

young, intelligent and successful man called David Madson.

Cunanan also had found a friend in a former U.S. Navy officer, Jeffrey Trail.

The former was aged 30 and latter, 28.

These were, to Andrew at least, his best buddies.

They were his real life love away from aged millionaires that only wanted his fine body

to somehow rescue their own youth.

Madson had been in an intimate relationship with Cunanan, but got rid of him when he realized

Cunanan was playing all over town.

At some point, Trail also fell out with Cunanan.

Hed lost his rich benefactor and hed lost his young lover and friend, and to make

it worse, he started putting on weight and was finding it harder to land those hour-long

gigs bouncing on hotel room beds.

At this time he started dealing pharmaceutical pills and also smoking crack cocaine and methamphetamine.

His life had come apart again.

Sometime later Madson and Trail then by coincidence both ended up living in Minnesota.

They had not known each other well in the past, but because they had both dated Andrew

they were aware of each other.

They became friends, but not lovers.

Still, this infuriated Andrew.

He had been left out of the friendship.

One day Madson got a call from Cunanan to say he was going to come and visit the two,

but what Cunanan really wanted was to get back with Madson.

He turned up to his house, broke, having maxed his credit cards, and then gave Madson a very

expensive watch.

All this time Madson was aware that Cunanan seemed overwrought, like he was at the edge

of despair.

Sometime later Trail got a message on his answering machine and it was Andrew saying

come over to Madsons apartment and hang out with us.

Trail never returned home again, and it took days for someone to report him missing.

When Madson didnt turn up for work, his colleagues went around to his apartment.

They heard the dog scratching at the door and asked the superintendent to investigate.

Trail was found wrapped in a rug.

Hed been violently hit in the head with a claw hammer about 30 times.

But where was Madson?

Police believed after seeing Andrew do this, he probably just ran with him fearing for

his own life.

After all, it was discovered that Cunanan had a gun, one that had once belonged to Trail.

No one knows exactly what went down on that fateful night.

Madson was found dead two days later near a lake.

Hed been shot in the back and through the eye.

Cunanan had now killed his two best friends, the guys he always said he loved the most.

A week later and the wife of a very rich and prominent property developer, Lee Miglin,

returned home to their grand house and she got a terrible shock.

Her husbands body was lying in the garage.

It was discovered that all his ribs had been broken, hed been stabbed 20 times with

a screwdriver, his head was almost severed, and he had a plastic bag over his face.

Holes had been cut for the nostrils, so police believed the killer had wanted to keep the

75-year old alive before he used a saw to cut his throat.

Pruning shears had also been driven into the victims chest.

One thing we know about this extraordinary rich man was that he liked to frequent the

gay communities of Chicago, but of course this was his secret life.

It turned out that the killer had mutilated and killed his man, and then made some sandwiches

and had a shave.

A few days later and another man was found dead, this time the victim was shot in the


This wasnt a revenge killing, there was no sign of emotional rage.

Police called this murderfunctional.”

The function for Andrew was to drive to Miami.

As we said, spree killers go out in a hail of fire, they leave traces, and they often

dont intend to escape or even live through it.

The FBI had enough evidence to know for sure it was Cunanan, it was a matter of finding


His face appeared in the media, and authorities were told by 12 people hed been spotted

in Miami, but for some reason they were slow to respond.

Meanwhile Andrew had one more thing he wanted to do, and that was murder his idol, the great

fashion designer Gianni Versace.

This took some planning, since a high profile man like Versace was away a lot and often

had people around him.

While cops were looking for Cunanan, he was waiting in a cheap Miami hotel for the right

time to get his man.

You know what happened next, and that was Versaces fatal newspaper run.

We will never know why Cunanan took those lives because soon after he broke into a houseboat

and shot himself in the head.

The question everyone has asked was what drove this intelligent kid to do these things?

Was it the possible abuse in childhood by the priest?

The downfall of his family?

His double lives, his being used as a human pleasure doll, or just the fact he couldnt

bare not to be the person in his fantasies?

Did he just crack up after that first rejection, and then think, Im taking them all down?

Tell us what you think in the comments.

Also, be sure to watch our other video about the horrible serial killer Ted Bundy.

Thanks for watching, and as always, dont forget to like, share and subscribe.

See you next time.

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