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25 years later, motive remains a mystery in Cunanan killing spree

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In the 25 years since Andrew Cunanan shot and killed fashion designer Gianni Versace in Miami Beach, there has been much speculation about the motive for this murder and four others. However, no one will ever really know. That was the conclusion of a Minneapolis homicide detective who worked the case in 1997.

“There are just too many unanswered questions and Andrew Cunanan is the only one who can answer those questions and even he probably couldn’t answer those questions,” Dale Barsness told 5 EYEWITNESSS NEWS in 2017 on the 20th.e anniversary of the murders. “Anyone who has the answers is no longer with us.” This now also includes Barsness, head of the Minneapolis police homicide unit in 1997. He died in 2019 at the age of 73.

In 2017 on the 20e anniversary of murder spree Barness looks back at the murders committed by Andrew Cunanan. The first two out of five murders took place in Minnesota. Jeffrey Trail was murdered in Minneapolis and David Madson near Rush City. Both were friends or acquaintances of Cunanan. While fleeing these two murders, Cunanan killed millionaire Lee Miglin in Chicago and a cemetery worker in New Jersey. He disappeared for two months before landing in Miami Beach and murdering fashion designer Gianni Versace on the front porch of his mansion.

Barsness said there was a key missed opportunity to arrest Cunanan after a single murder. David Madson’s neighbors heard a commotion coming from his Minneapolis apartment where Jeffrey Trail was bludgeoned to death by Cunanan, but no one called the police.

“Have you ever wondered how different things could have been if the neighbors had called the police right away that night? 5 EYEWITNESSS NEWS asked Barsness in 2017. “We may have only had one homicide,” he replied.