While Andrew Cunanan’s killing spree is certainly a fascinating true crime story, it’s unfortunately one that doesn’t present a lot of concrete answers regarding why. Cunanan murdered five people — if not more — before taking his own life in Miami, Florida two weeks after the death of his last victim, Gianni Versace. Cunanan was never apprehended by authorities, so the motive behind his murders has never been explained. But that’s not going to stop American Crime Story from filling in the details.
The latest episode of the FX series shows us Cunanan’s first and second murders (before he fled to Chicago to kill Lee Miglin and finally Versace) and how he was living a relatively low-key life — he even had a boyfriend…who rejected his marriage proposal.
True or false? No one’s really sure, and the family of David Madson, Cunanan’s second victim and supposed romantic partner, isn’t saying. But before Cunanan killed him, he killed Madson’s friend, Jeffrey Trail. And in another twist, Trail was also Cunanan’s friend. Also maybe another romantic parter for Cunanan, but once again, that’s all unconfirmed since Trail’s family denies that the two were linked in that way.
However, Cunanan and Trail were friends, that is certain. But Cunanan’s interest in Trail might have bordered more on obsession than anything else. According to Lisa, Trail’s sister, in a 1997 interview with The New York Times, “When Jeff got a haircut, Andrew had to have the exact same haircut. When Jeff went to San Francisco and got a certain style of baseball cap, Andrew had to go to San Francisco and get the very same cap. When Jeff grew a goatee, Andrew grew a goatee.”
When Cunanan announced that he was coming to visit Trail (and also Madson) in Minneapolis, Trail wasn’t all that thrilled about it. But he felt safe, because, according to a CBS News report, he had just bought a handgun. That handgun would later go on to become the same gun that killed Gianni Versace in Miami.
We’ll never know exactly why Cunanan killed Trail, but we do know that he lured Trail to Madson’s apartment, more than likely with the intent of killing him. Trail was later found rolled up in a carpet after being beaten to death with a hammer at Cunanan’s hand.
We see this happen in the latest episode, “House by the Lake,” but we also see more. It’s clear that American Crime Story is fudging the details a little bit, as the show implies that Cunanan and Madson were romantically linked, and Madson actually rejected Cunanan’s marriage proposal. Madson and Trail talk about this, and infer that Cunanan is jealous of Trail; the two believe that Cunanan thinks Madson broke up with him because of Trail. Talk about a complicated love triangle that may or may not have been been real — however, American Crime Story still paints it as what happened. So take that lofty apartment (which is, double take, the New Girl apartment??) with a grain of salt.