MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Exactly 17 years ago today, famed fashion designer Gianni Versace was shot to death outside his Miami Beach mansion in a murder that stunned not only South Florida but the entire world.
International media swarmed into South Beach to cover the sensational slaying which took place outside Casa Casuarina, his elaborate and opulent 10-bedroom Ocean Drive mansion.
Versace was shot to death by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, after the Italian designer returned home from eating breakfast three blocks away at the News Café.
Versace’s blood stained the coral front steps of the property after the shooting. The world famous, part-time resident lived in the home for five years before his murder.
The manhunt for Cunanan, once a male prostitute, made international headlines in the days that followed.
He was suspected in the murders of four other men and was already on the federal ten most wanted list at the time of the high-profile murder in South Beach.
A little more than a week after Versace’s murder, Cunanan killed himself on a shuttered houseboat about 40 blocks north of the mansion as police closed in.
More than a decade and a half later, investigators still don’t know why Cunanan murdered Versace or his other victims in the deadly crime spree that spread from Minneapolis to Chicago to South Beach.
At Versace’s funeral in Milan Italy a week after his death, celebrity mourners included Elton John, Georgio Armani and Princess Diana; one month before her own death in Paris.
The Versace family sold the South Beach property in 2000.
The former Casa Casuarina is now known as “The Villa By Barton G” which operates a high-end boutique hotel and a Mediterranean restaurant.
Tourists can still routinely be spotted taking photos in front of the house.