As the premiere of FX's The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story gets closer, viewers have become fixated on the man who killed the beloved fashion designer. The murder on July 15, 1997, stunned the nation, but it didn’t take long for law enforcement to figure out who was behind the attack.
At the age of 50, Gianni was shot by Andrew Cunanan, a serial killer who had murdered at least four other people over a three-month period, starting in April 1997. The gay gigolo's first victim was his friend, Jeffrey Trail, who he beat to death with a claw hammer. Four days later, he shot architect David Madson, leaving Jeffrey’s body at David’s apartment while dumping David near Rush Lake in Minnesota. He then stabbed a prominent real estate developer named Lee Miglin and stole his car before killing cemetery caretaker William Reese in order to steal his car.
Gianni was murdered by Andrew on the front steps of his Miami mansion as he returned home from a morning walk following a trip to Milan, Venice, and Paris. The murderer used the same gun to commit suicide on a boat eight days later after sparking a massive manhunt.
On an episode of Dateline that aired in April, Gianni’s partner, Antonio D’Amico, spoke about the killing for the first time. "I heard the shot. My heart just stopped to beat,” he revealed. “So I ran out and then I saw Gianni laying down on the stairs in blood.”
The scene of the crime.
The designer’s death is the focus of American Crime Story’s upcoming season. Edgar Ramirez plays the visionary, while Penelope Cruz stars as his sister Donatella. Glee alum Darren Criss portrays Andrew.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story premieres Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. on FX.