The Versace Killer : Documentary on Serial Killer Andrew Cunanan
What Really Happened When Andrew Cunanan Murdered Jeff Trail and David Madson
We'll never know exactly what caused Andrew Cunanan across the United States. What we do know is he murdered his close friend, Jeffrey Trail, with a claw hammer in the Minneapolis apartment of Cunanan's ex, David Madson. Just days after authorities found Trail's body, fishermen discovered Madson's bullet-riddled corpse on the shore of Rush Lake, Michigan.
Last week's episode ofThe Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Storyimagines the murders of Trail and Madson in gruesome, chilling detail, while tonight's explores the the hours leading up to Cunanan's attack on Trail. Since the three people involved in the Trail and Madson crimes are dead,ACSresorted to crafting a narrative around exactly what happened during and between the murders.
Here, we're laying out the facts, so you can separate them fromAmerican Crime Story's fiction.
Before Trail's murder
Andrew Cunanan and Jeff Trail were very good friends—Cunanan would describe Trail as "my brother," according to Maureen Orth atVanity Fair. But a rift had formed between the two, and Trail's friend Michael Williams toldVanity FairTrail "never wished to see [Cunanan] again.” Trail told Williams Cunanan was involved with selling drugs and wanted Trail to join him, but Trail refused.
Trail had moved to Minneapolis for a job a few months before the murders, and Cunanan's ex, David Madson, also lived there. Cunanan still resided in San Diego at the time, and before he left for his trip to Minneapolis, he reportedly told friends he had "unfinished business" with Trail. According to Orth's book about the Cunanan murder spree,Vulgar Favors, Cunanan often showed up in Minneapolis unannounced to visit Trail and Madson.
Madson picked up Cunanan from the Minneapolis airport when he arrived from San Diego on Friday, April 25, and they had dinner with Madson's friends. According to friends of Madson who spoke toVanity Fair, Madson was uneasy during the meal. The next day, Saturday, Cunanan apparently stayed at Trail's apartment without Trail, who went out of town but left a key for Cunanan under the doormat.
On Sunday, Cunanan presumably returned to Madson's apartment. He left a message for Trail at 8 PM stating he'd "like to see" Trail.
The first kill
At 9:45 PM Sunday, April 27, Trail entered Madson's apartment. According toVanity Fair, a neighbor heard someone yell, "Get the fuck out," the sounds of someone striking a wall, and then running water.
According toVulgar Favors, Trail's head, face, and upper torso sustained 27 blows from a claw hammer. His watch had stopped at 9:55 PM.
The Trail murder scene
On Tuesday, two of Madson's colleagues went to his apartment after he failed to show at work two days in a row,Vanity Fairreports. They heard noises in the apartment—one colleague said she thought people were whispering—and called the police, who said they would have to break down the door and shoot Madson's dog, Prints, if he became aggressive. Instead of risking that, Madson's co-workers called his superintendent to open the door. She discovered the apartment empty—save for Trail's body wrapped in a carpet.
According toTIME, Madson's apartment was rife with evidence, including the murder weapon, though Orth reports inVulgar Favorsthat investigators bungled the recovery of other important evidence. For example, investigators found a gym bag containing drugs, porn, and bullets (the exact kind later found in Madson's body) but couldn't determine whether the bag belonged to Madson or Cunanan—until a friend of Madson's pointed out that Cunanan's name was written on the bag.Vanity Fairalso reports that authorities found Cunanan's toiletry bag and a pair of bloody size 36 jeans (likely Cunanan's, as Madson wore a 32) in Madson's apartment in June—two months after the first two murders.
The initial investigation
On Wednesday morning, authorities identified the body as Trail's thanks to the tattoo on his left leg. Immediately, they suspected Madson, still missing. “It’s his apartment. There’s a body in there. There’s no way to pin it on Cunanan as opposed to Madson," Minneapolis police sergeant Robert Tichich toldVanity Fair.
After Trail's murder
Authorities don't really know what Cunanan and Madson did between Trail's death and Madson's murder, or what exactly Cunanan did after killing Madson. They're not even sure exactly when or where Madson died.
On Monday, April 28, the day after Trail's murder, theNew York Timesreports Madson's neighbors saw him and Cunanan walking Madson's dog, Prints. Between the Tuesday and Friday after Trail's death, someone reported seeing Madson's red Jeep Cherokee driving north on Interstate 35, according toVanity Fair, but the witness did not see the driver's face. A restaurant owner reported seeing Cunanan and Madson eating together, but Orth's investigation inVuglar Favorsproved that account false.
What we do know is Madson's red Jeep was parked at a Chicago parking garage from 6 AM to 7 PM on Wednesday, April 30—one day after Trail's body was discovered and three days before Madson's would be found 450 miles away. It's unclear whether Madson and Cunanan were together in Chicago on Wednesday, or if Cunanan killed Madson and left his body on the shore of Rush Lake before he arrived in Chicago. The latter seems to be the most likely case. Even though Madson's time of death was originally recorded as Friday, May 2, Orth lays out evidence inVulgar Favorsthat suggests he died earlier than that.
Madson's family told theNew York Timesthey believe Madson "walked in" on the murder, and Cunanan took him hostage as a result.
Madson's murder scene
Fishermen found Madson's body, riddled with Golden Saber .40-cal. bullets, on Saturday morning. He'd been shot three times with a gun owned by Jeff Trail: once each in the face, head and back.
By the time Madson's body was found, Cunanan was already in Chicago, potentially with Lee Miglin, his third victim. Miglin's body would be found in his Chicago home just a day later—Sunday, May 4.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Storyairs Wednesday at 10 PM on FX.
Video: Andrew Cunanan The Versace Killer 5/5
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