This summer marks the 20th anniversary since the senseless murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. The then 50-year-old fashion designer was killed outside his Miami mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan — and to this day, a lot of intrigue surrounds his death, so much so that Dateline is revisiting his murder for a special, titled The Death of Gianni Versace: A Dateline Investigation, airing tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC.
Horrifying details of his death were revealed when his autopsy was publicized — and it demonstrated just how harrowing his final moments on Earth were.
In a report published by local newspaper The Sun-Sentinel shortly after Versace’s tragic death, it was suggested that the famed fashion designer looked his murderer in the eyes moments before he fired the gun that claimed Versace’s life.
“An autopsy performed on the internationally known fashion designer found that one of the two .40-caliber bullets that killed him entered through his left cheek and not the back of his head as first thought,” the report states. “That one bullet was likely fired at close range from a gun pressed against Versace’s cheek.”
According to reports from the time, leaving his victim’s faces unrecognizable and generally disfigured was one of the prolific serial killer’s “marks.”
On Dateline tonight, Keith Morrison — who covered the case in Miami back in the summer of 1997 — will retrace the steps of the murderer in the quest for answers in this perplexing case.
“The ‘master’ of that villa in Miami Beach — and of a world-wide revolution in fashion — was, of course, Gianni Versace, the final victim of a troubled young man named Andrew Cunanan, whose killing spree is the subject of our story,” Morrison writes. “What Cunanan did was: bludgeon to death a close friend, shoot a former lover in the head, torture, and viciously stab to death a pillar of Chicago society, shoot — merely for the sake of a getaway car — a kindly cemetery caretaker in New Jersey, and blow away — execution style — an icon of modern fashion design. But why? Why did he do it, why did it happen, how did it happen, why wasn't he stopped?”
That’s the question Morrison and the Dateline team hope to uncover on tonight’s episode — for more, tune in to NBC at 9 p.m.