this day in crime history: july 15, 1997


On this day in 1997, fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot and killed outside his home in Miami Beach, FL. Versace’s killer, Andrew Cunanan, had gone on a killing spree that started three months earlier in Minneapolis. Versace was Cunanan’s fifth and final (known) victim. Cunanan committed suicide on July 24th on a houseboat in Miami. His motive for the killings remains unknown.

Further reading:

FBI: Serial Killers – Andrew Cunanan Murders a Fashion Icon

Crime Museum – Versace Murder

Wikipedia – Andrew Cunanan

4 thoughts on “this day in crime history: july 15, 1997

  1. Most of Cunanan’s victims were former homosexual partners of his. His Minnesota victim (I believe that was his first) was reported to be so at the time. His Chicago victim was reported as a “random” killing and the discrepancy was used to discount the homosexual-killing-spree angle, even though the details of the scene screamed “homosexual killing.” The victim was a personal friend of Richie and Maggie Daley (the mayor and his wife), and was a big campaign contributor. After several years of denial and the death of the victim’s wife, Chicago Police Department spokesmen admitted that the victim had had a homosexual affair with Cunanan, but the CPD had been ordered by Mayor Daley to deny it and cover it up.
    The Versace killing was never explained, at least to my knowledge. Maybe he was just someone famous who was at the wrong place at the wrong time.


  2. John D.:
    Another unexplained murder , and of a designer…
    The Chicago connection doesn’t surprise me…the city’s as corrupt as the day is long.
    Have to say that Cunanan got around during his brief time killing people.

    Crazy stuff.

    Roll safe out there.


    • I don’t think withholding the facts about the Chicago victim’s past was corruption as much as it was an attempt to protect the victim’s (and, by extension, Daley’s) reputation. The fact that it may have hampered the overall investigation and search for Cunanan was an unintended consequence. Daley was never a great thinker.
      (Although, in a post-9/11 press conference, a reporter asked if he would reopen O’Hare airport while every other airport in the country was still closed. Daley replied, “Where, exactly, are they gonna go?” So he was a greater thinker than the Fourth Estate.)


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