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Gianni Versace murder files released

Gianni Versace
Versace was killed July 15   

Family files suit to keep autopsy photos sealed

December 30, 1997
Web posted at: 3:40 p.m. EST (2040 GMT)

MIAMI BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- Miami Beach police on Tuesday released hundreds of documents on the Gianni Versace murder investigation, but withheld autopsy photos pending court action on a lawsuit filed by the fashion designer's family to keep them private.

More than 700 pages of investigative documents were released Tuesday under Florida's Public Records Act.

As expected, Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Barreto said police have concluded Andrew Cunanan murdered Versace. But he said authorities have not been able to establish a motive for the murder.

"Andrew Cunanan is the subject responsible for the homicide," Barreto said, adding the suspected serial killer had acted alone. icon (254K/23 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)


The Versace family had reportedly been trying quietly to stop disclosure of any of the designer's personal and financial information. However, Lou Colasuonno, a Versace family spokesman, said Tuesday the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court was aimed only at keeping autopsy and other photos private.

"We're just asking for respect for a guy who was a murder victim," Colasuonno said. "Gianni Versace was the victim of a maniacal serial killer. And we should treat him like a victim -- with respect."

No court date has been scheduled in the suit filed on behalf of Donatella and Santo Versace, the late designer's sister and brother. Release of the photos is required by law unless the court intervenes.

Andrew Cunanan
Cunanan was the sole suspect in the Versace murder   

Police believe Cunanan, 27, shot Versace July 15 on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion. Cunanan committed suicide a week later on a houseboat about 2 miles north of the mansion. Cunanan is suspected to have killed four other men in a cross-country shooting spree.

Barreto said the Versace investigation was the longest and most extensive probe ever undertaken by Miami Beach police.

Still, no solid motive behind the execution-style murder could be found, he said.

He said police had received two uncorroborated reports that Versace and Cunanan might have met in the past, but could not establish that there was any relationship between the two men.

"The real answer to that went down with the ship, so to speak, when Andrew Cunanan committed suicide," Barreto said.

The houseboat on which Cunanan shot himself sank recently in Miami Beach.


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