Andrew Luster is the son of Henry Luster, a psychiatrist, and Elizabeth Luster (née Shore). His mother was the adopted daughter of Max Factor, Sr.'s daughter Freda. He grew up in Malibu, California, and attended Windward School in Los Angeles.
After graduating, Luster moved to Mussel Shoals, California, subsisting on a $1 million trust fund and living in a $600,000 cottage on the beach. According to the Los Angeles Times, this move and Luster's "freewheeling lifestyle" weakened his "already tenuous" ties to the Factor family, which was heavily involved in the arts and philanthropy.
In 2000, Luster was arrested when a student at a local college told police that she had been raped at Luster's home. Upon investigation, police charged Luster with drugging three women with the date-rape drug GHB, sexually assaulting them, and video-taping the assaults, having found videotapes of the assaults when they searched his home. After paying $1 million bail, Luster failed to appear in court to defend himself against the charges in January 2003. Luster was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 124 years in prison. In June 2003, he was captured by American bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; both Luster and Chapman were subsequently arrested by Mexican police.
The California Court of Appeal refused the appeal his attorneys filed on his behalf, ruling that as a fugitive from justice, Luster had flouted the court's authority and had thus forfeited his right to appeal. The California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court later refused to overturn this ruling.
Luster is currently incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California. Under California law, since his crimes harmed other persons, he is required to serve at least 85% of his sentence before becoming eligible for release with time off with good behavior. Had his original sentence stood, Luster would not have even been considered for release until he served 105 years—effectively a life sentence.
In late 2009, Luster filed a petition for habeas corpus as the final possibility of having his case reviewed by another court on appeal. Luster was represented in that suit by Jay Leiderman and J. David Nick. The habeas corpus petition was granted in April 2012. On March 11, 2013, the Ventura County Superior Court vacated Luster's 124-year sentence but not his conviction, based on the trial judge's failure to state specific reasons for imposing consecutive sentences, and ordered a new sentencing hearing April 4, 2013.
On April 16, 2013, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kathryne Stoltz reduced Luster's sentence to 50 years—48 years for the rapes and two years for the drug-related charges. According to prosecutors, Luster will be eligible for parole in 2028. Luster's lawyers have indicated there will be an appeal.
In 2016, opponents of California Proposition 57 released a brochure that stated that Luster could be released early due to the lack of clarity for what defines "violent crimes." In response to this brochure, California Governor Jerry Brown addressed the case of Andrew Luster directly, saying that an early release for Luster would never happen. "This guy was sentenced to 100 years, and he's a registered sex offender, and on both accounts would not be getting out," Brown said in a voicemail to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. Brown's administration later clarified that since Luster would have to register as a sex offender, he would not be eligible for parole under Proposition 57.
Two of the victims won civil lawsuits against Luster, who was ordered to pay a total of $40 million. Luster subsequently sold most of his property and declared bankruptcy.
After he vanished, a movie called A Date with Darkness: The Trial and Capture of Andrew Luster was made, based on the events. The film was originally intended to end with a picture of the real Andrew Luster, and a request to the audience to notify authorities if they should see him. When Luster was finally captured, the film was still shooting. The ending was re-written to incorporate his capture.
On August 28, 2009, the true crime TV Series Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice aired an episode on the case in Season 3, Episode 4, "Evil Deeds".
On August 31, 2017, Investigation Discovery aired the first episode of Guilty Rich, which recounted the story of Andrew Luster's crimes, arrest, flight, and ultimate conviction and incarceration.