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Fugitive's Death Leaves a Trail of Contradictions

July 25, 1997|JUDY PASTERNAK and TONY PERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Cunanan had another Twin Cities connection; a lover, architect David Madson, lived in a downtown loft there. Some of Cunanan's friends in San Francisco say he reveled in the great sex he said he enjoyed with Madson. He went on to confide details of his proclivities that made his friends distinctly uncomfortable.

Madson may have ended the relationship on the weekend of April 19, said Philip Horne, an attorney who intended at the time to become Cunanan's roommate. And yet, said Steven Gomer, another friend, Cunanan seemed "more exuberant than he was normally"--which was exuberant indeed--at the upscale bar where they all hung out.

A Lavish Farewell Party

The following week, Cunanan threw himself a lavish farewell party in San Diego because, he said, he was moving to northern California.

First, he traveled to Minneapolis.

Cunanan's charge cards were maxed out; he had to beg for special approval to pay his airplane fare. He was extended enough credit to travel round trip, according to Minneapolis homicide investigators. But he chose to buy only a one-way ticket.

The ticket agent was surprised; Cunanan explained that he wanted to go on later to see friends in New York.

By this time, Trail was brooding. He told Williams on the telephone that "he and Andrew had had a huge falling out and he said he would never speak to him again." When Williams asked why, Trail was evasive, saying only that "he was sick of all the lies, all the b.s., all the stories."

He wanted to return to San Diego; he was sick of the harsh weather, he told Williams. And then he added: "I have to get out of here; they're going to kill me."

Why did he say that? The only people who know for sure are dead.

Madson, Trail and Cunanan appeared to socialize easily over several days in cafes, restaurants and gay bars. On April 27, though, a neighbor heard scuffling. Two days later, police found Trail's body in Madson's apartment wrapped in an Oriental rug. Trail's .40-caliber gun was missing; so were 10 .40-caliber Remington Golden Saber slugs from a box in Cunanan's gym bag. The chain of murders had begun.

"They're going to kill me. . . ." What was Madson's role in Trail's death? The architect, an outgoing, cheerful man, seemed unhappy about picking up Cunanan at the airport, Minneapolis friends told local gay anti-violence activists.

But while he didn't show up for work, he was seen walking his Dalmatian and in his apartment building in the days immediately after the killing. Indeed, he was the initial suspect.

On May 2, Madson's red Jeep with the Vail ski area bumper sticker was spotted heading north up Interstate 35.

Shortly after 1 p.m., two young men in khaki pants and open shirts walked into the Full Moon Bar & Restaurant in a speck of a town called Stark, just off the highway. Owner Jean Rosen pegged Cunanan and Madson out of a photo lineup.

Cunanan requested a seat on the deck despite the gray, blustery day. He ordered two Grainbelt beers and a California cheeseburger basket and Madson said he'd have the same.

Madson seemed jumpy. He looked over his shoulder every time the front door opened. But whatever he feared, it didn't seem to be his companion. They sat across from each other at a picnic table and talked earnestly, sometimes smiling, sometimes touching hands, all through lunch.

That night, police believe, Madson was shot three times about five miles away at East Rush Lake. Fishermen discovered the body near Jeep tracks in the grass. The vehicle was gone.

It would surface soon in Chicago, around the corner from another murder scene--that of Lee Miglin, a 72-year-old real estate developer married to a former model who markets her own line of cosmetics over the Home Shopping Channel. Marylin Miglin had been away on a business trip. Lee Miglin's body was discovered May 4 in his garage.

Millionaire's Death Shows Change in Style

The slayer had not used a gun but worked slowly and brutally with a garden tool. The corpse was taped up like a mummy, with only the nostrils showing. This was a new killing style, reminiscent of a bondage video that Cunanan had recently rented.

Why Lee Miglin? Though Cunanan had visited Chicago with Blachford, and Miglin's son Duke lives in California, the Miglins reiterated on Thursday that Cunanan "had no connection whatsoever" to anyone in the family. In Madson's Jeep, Chicago police found a map from a local tourist magazine available in hotel lobbies. A red line was marked from the north end of the Loop to a neighborhood with many gay bars.

A witness saw someone sleeping in the Jeep on the street where it was later found, Chicago police say. Did he tire out on the way to or from a night at the clubs? How did he arrive at that particular spot?

The house was not ransacked, nor had entry been forced. Yet the killer took 10 gold coins that Miglin kept on hand for rewarding good employees. Did Miglin willingly let a stranger in? Was he tortured to reveal where he kept his cache?

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