Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Alleged Craiglist Killer Arrested

Craiglist Killer story naturally attracted public interest, bringing the related searched to the top of the Google Searches.

Boston cops on Monday night branded a 22-year-old med student engaged to be married as the "Craigslist Killer" who murdered a pretty New York masseuse and attacked at least two other escorts in hotels.
Philip Markoff, a Boston University student who lives in Quincy, a harborside town 10 miles south of Boston, will be arraigned on murder charges on Tuesday.

Cops said the brainy blond doctor wanna-be, who grew up in upstate Sherrill, N.Y., and went to SUNY Albany for his undergraduate studies, has no rap sheet, but they think he has preyed on sex workers for a while. Police begged other victims to come forward.

Markoff, who was arrested after cops tailed him for several days, will be charged in Boston Municipal Court with the murder of Julissa Brisman, the slain 26-year-old New Yorker advertised her services on craigslist and was shot in a Boston hotel last Tuesday.

Markoff also will be charged with kidnapping and robbery in an attack four days earlier in another luxury Boston hotel on an exotic dancer who advertised online. Police believe last Thursday’s armed robbery of a Las Vegas hooker in a Rhode Island hotel is also connected.

Markoff, the son of a Syracuse dentist, is engaged to marry Megan McAllister, a fellow med student he met while they were at SUNY Albany. A Web page devoted to their planned wedding later this year recounts how they volunteered together at an area emergency room and enjoyed their first date on Nov. 11, 2005.

Cops credited "high-tech leads and old-fashioned shoe leather" for the arrest. Cops stopped Markoff at 4 p.m. Monday as he drove south of Boston on Interstate 95. He agreed to come in for questioning and was arrested at headquarters.

The break came hours after police released new security camera photos showing the clean-cut, 6-foot-tall suspect strolling casually to and from the three crime scenes peering into his BlackBerry.

The new pictures were taken last Thursday in the hallway of a Warwick, R.I., Holiday Inn Express, where a prostitute who advertised on Craigslist was tied up and robbed at gunpoint.

Markoff is expected to be charged in that attack, too. Cops say Markoff’s first known attack was April 10, when a 29-year-old woman who advertised as an exotic dancer on craigslist was attacked at Boston’s Westin hotel. She was bound and robbed of her debit card and $800 in cash.

Four days later, Brisman was shot multiple times in a 20th-floor room of the Copley Marriott, apparently because she fought the thief’s attempts to restrain her with plastic handcuffs known as "zip ties."
"Cops" are eyeing gambling issues as a possible motive for accused Craigslist killer Philip Markoff’s alleged assaults on Boston-area escorts, the Boston Herald reports, citing two anonymous law enforcement sources. The Herald says Markoff was known to be a big gambler and investigators are probing whether money concerns tied to his gambling may have triggered the alleged violence spree, the sources said.
Police said they found a semi-automatic gun, ammunition and “items used to bind” the victims at his apartment in Quincy during a search last night.

However, Philip Markoff’s attorney says he is not guilty of charges including murder, armed robbery and kidnapping. "Philip Markoff is not guilty of the charges. He has his family’s support," said defense attorney John Salsberg. "Philip is bearing up. It’s obviously a difficult time for anybody facing these charges."

Note that the Craiglists Killer is neither the first one to be called this name, nor the first who used Craiglists Ads site for search and arrangements with victims. A 20-year-old Minnesota man who killed a woman he lured to his home with a fake Craigslist ad was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in April 2009. According to news reports, in October 2007, the victim, Katherine Olson, 24 years old, responded to a help-wanted ad for a babysitter. She arrived to find Michael Anderson, who shot her in the back as she tried to leave. She was found in the trunk of her own car. The prosecutor said that Mr. Anderson called himself “the Craigslist murderer” in conversations with other inmates.

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