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Philip Markoff
Born February 12, 1986 (1986-02-12) (age 24)
Sherrill, New York
Charge(s) Murder, armed robbery,
other lesser crimes

Philip Haynes Markoff (born February 12, 1986) is an American former medical student charged with the armed robbery and murder of Julissa Brisman in a Boston, Massachusetts hotel on April 14, 2009. He was also charged with the armed robbery of another woman on April 10 in another Boston hotel.[1] A warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with a third assault in a Warwick, Rhode Island hotel.[2] The media have referred to Brisman's murderer as the "Craigslist Killer" because he is alleged to have met his victims through ads they placed on Craigslist offering erotic services. Markoff has maintained his innocence of all charges and pled not guilty at his initial arraignment.[3] A grand jury subsequently indicted Markoff for first-degree murder, armed robbery, and other charges.[4][5]



Markoff is a native of Sherrill, New York.[1][6] His mother, Susan Haynes, works at a resort, and his father, Richard Markoff, is a dentist in Syracuse, New York.[7][8]

He graduated in 2004 from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School,[9] where he was a member of the National Honor Society,[10] history club and the Youth Court, as well as the school bowling and golf teams.[11] His former English teacher and neighbor described him as "a good student and just a really nice kid. Smart, wanting to succeed, nothing strange, nothing out of the ordinary."[10][10][11]

After high school, Markoff attended SUNY Albany where he was a pre-med student and member of the Young Republicans. He graduated from SUNY Albany in 2007.[12][1] He was a second year medical student at Boston University School of Medicine, and was suspended from the school following the charges.[12] He was engaged to Megan McAllister, who will begin medical school in the fall of 2009.[13] They met in 2005 while they were both volunteers at the Albany Medical Center Hospital emergency room.[14]


Markoff is suspected in three robberies — one of which resulted in the murder of Julissa Brisman, which had taken place in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The robberies were against three women, closely spaced in time and exhibiting strong similarities to each other. Law enforcement officials suspect that they were committed by the same individual.[15]

  1. The first incident took place on Friday, April 10, 2009, at the Westin Copley Place Hotel, in Boston, Massachusetts, in which Trisha Leffler, a paid escort, was bound and robbed at gunpoint.[16]
  2. The next incident occurred on Tuesday, April 14, 2009, at the Copley Marriott, also in Boston, and resulted in the death of Julissa Brisman, an exotic masseuse.[17][18][19]
  3. The third incident occurred on Thursday, April 16, 2009, at a Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, Rhode Island, resulting in the attempted robbery of an exotic dancer offering lap dance services.[20]

One man who said he wished to remain anonymous to protect his employment claimed on The Today Show that he had placed an ad on Craigslist looking for "males for transsexuals"; Markoff allegedly emailed the man sexually explicit photos of himself from Yahoo username "sexaddict5385", a name belonging to someone identifying himself as "Phil" and registered since 2006[21]; it was from these photos that the man claimed to have recognized Markoff after seeing him on TV in connection to the assaults.[22] The Today Show speculated based on this man's claims that Markoff may have used the Internet to solicit transsexual men to target as victims. Other than this one unidentified man, no other individuals have come forward with similar allegations.[23] However, the New York Post claimed that Boston Police have reported being aware of additional correspondences through Craigslist between Markoff and other males. According to the Post, the police found Markoff's phone number in an ad that had been posted by someone advertising as a black female offering "massage services".[24]


On April 20, 2009, citing security camera footage and Internet-based evidence, police arrested Markoff, who was living in the High Point apartments in Quincy, Massachusetts, and charged him with armed robbery and kidnapping for the events of April 10, and murder in the death of Brisman on April 14. The arrest took place on Interstate 95 in Walpole, Massachusetts, while Markoff and McAllister were en route to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. He had over $1,000 cash on him at the time of his arrest.[25] Brisman's murderer has been referred to as "the Craigslist Killer" by the media.[26]

On April 21, Markoff was arraigned on murder and gun charges[27] brought by the Suffolk County DA in Brisman's slaying. At his arraignment, where he was represented by Boston attorney John Salsberg, Markoff maintained his innocence and pled not guilty to all charges. He is being held without bail on a murder charge, although separate bonds were set on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping stemming from the incident involving a second woman.[1][6]

According to an unauthorized leak, on April 23, jail officials allegedly found "shoelace marks" around Markoff’s neck and subsequently placed him under 24-hour suicide watch.[28][29] For a few days he was in the psychiatric unit of Nashua Street jail, where he was monitored around-the-clock after he allegedly attempted to strangle himself with shoelaces and to slice his wrists with a spoon he sharpened to a point using concrete in his cell, a law enforcement source said. He is no longer on suicide watch. [30]

On May 4 a warrant was issued in Warwick, Rhode Island for Markoff's arrest, seeking to charge him with assault, attempted robbery and weapons possession in the April 16 Holiday Inn case. However, the Rhode Island Attorney General said that their prosecution would not go forward until the Boston cases ended.[2]

Reaction of family and friends

Friends, neighbors and former teachers expressed shock and disbelief at the charges.[10][11] A classmate of Markoff's who had travelled with him to attend speeches given by Ann Coulter and Karl Rove stated, "We were surrounded by such a left-wing student body, and he was more like me: he didn’t really share those sentiments. He was a traditionalist as far as things like men and women’s roles in society. He was a throwback from a more conservative era." [12]

Some of his friends formed a group and set up a Facebook webpage entitled "Philip Markoff Is Innocent Until Proven Guilty." The on-line group has hundreds of members.[31]

McAllister at first issued statements affirming her belief in his innocence. She described Markoff as "beautiful inside and out" and stated that he "couldn't hurt a fly."[14][32] However, on April 29, McAllister visited him in jail and told him that she cancelled their wedding originally planned for August 14, sources told ABC News. According to her attorney, Robert Honecker, she visited Philip Markoff on June 11, 2009. Mr. Honecker said McAllister told Markoff she was going to medical school and said it would be "a long period of time, if ever, before she would see him again." [33]


  • A semi-automatic weapon was found hidden in a hollowed-out copy of the textbook Gray's Anatomy under Markoff's bed. Law enforcement officials reported to The Boston Globe that tests have found a preliminary match between this weapon and the weapon used to kill Brisman.[34][35][36][37] It has been reported that 16 pairs of women's panties were found under the bed, and that among them are pairs belonging to the two victims. Police investigators believe that Markoff may have kept the panties as "souvenirs" from his alleged victims, and that there may be other victims who have not yet come forward.[38] ABC News further reported that along with the weapon and panties police found duct tape and approximately 60 plastic flex-cuff restraints in Markoff's apartment.[30] Investigators said the plastic restraining ties used in the Warwick attack match those plastic ties.[35] ABC News and The Boston Globe reported that fingerprints found on the plastic restraints and duct tape left at a crime scene matched Markoff's fingerprints,[34] and Markoff's fingerprints were found in the room where Brisman was killed, police sources told ABC News.[35]
  • Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said Markoff opened an email account on April 13, the day before Julissa Brisman was killed at the Marriott Copley Hotel, using his real name and address.[30][39] Police contacted the Internet-service provider linked to the email to Brisman and tracked that to Markoff's high-rise apartment complex in Quincy.[39]
  • Trisha Leffler, a prostitute who said she was bound and robbed at the Westin Hotel in Boston on April 10, told ABC Boston affiliate WCVB that she immediately recognized Markoff as the man who'd robbed her when she saw him on surveillance photos released by police. [40]
  • In a search of Markoff's apartment, police found $800 in cash, $250 worth of gift cards, and a bank card allegedly stolen from victim Trisha Leffler.[41]
  • An anonymous law enforcement official quoted by the Boston Herald alleges that fingerprints belonging to Markoff were found in the hallway of the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, Rhode Island, where a stripper offering lap-dance services has claimed that a client she met through Craigslist attempted to rob her. Markoff also allegedly sent text messages from the hotel.[42] It has been reported that the victim in the Rhode Island robbery is reluctant to cooperate as a witness in the Markoff case. [35]
  • Law enforcement sources told ABC News that Markoff had scratches on his body when he was pulled over and arrested by police on April 20.[40]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Med student held without bail in possible Craigslist killing". CNN. 2009-04-021. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  2. ^ a b Zezima, Katie (2009-05095). "New Warrant for Defendant in Boston Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  3. ^ title=Defense Lawyer: Philip Markoff Is Not Guilty
  4. ^ Collette, Matt (2009-06-21). "Accused Craigslist killer indicted". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  5. ^ Abby, Goodnough (2009-06-21). "Medical Student Is Indicted in Craigslist Killing". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  6. ^ a b "Medical student charged with Craigslist murder in Boston". WBZ (AM) news radio. 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  7. ^ Clarridge, Emerson (2009-04-21). "Neighbors recall Markoff’s family". Utica Observer-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  8. ^ Goodnough, Abby; Anahad O'Connor (2009-04-22). "Boston Craigslist case: med student's preppy profile". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  9. ^ Ferris, Joleen (2009-04-31). ""Craiglist Killer" shines national spotlight on hometown of Sherrill". Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  10. ^ a b c d Moskowitz, Eric (2009-04-21). "Alleged 'Craigslist killer' recalled as a nice, smart boy". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  11. ^ a b c Stevenson, Mary (2009-04-21). "Police say VVS grad Philip Markoff ‘Craigslist Killer’". The Oneida (N.Y.) Daily Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  12. ^ a b c Goodnough, Abby; Schweber, Nate; Hernandez, Javier C. (2009-04-28). "Details, but Little Insight, on Craigslist Killing Suspect". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Van Sack, Jessica. "He wouldn’t ‘hurt a fly’: Alleged killer’s fiancee stands by her man". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  15. ^ "Craigslist killer strikes again in R.I.". Boston Herald. 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  16. ^ "Tips pour in on Craigslist killer: Police link Westin, Marriott attacks to clean-cut online stalker". Boston Herald. Hotel Online. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  17. ^ "Fingerprints, Gun Tie to Craigslist Suspect - ABC News". Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  18. ^ Miranda, Jim. "Cops traced e-mail to Philip Markoff". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  19. ^ "Craig's List 'Massage' Ad Tied To Marriott Murder". WBZ-TV. 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  20. ^ "Boston 'Craigslist' Killing May Be Linked to Attempted Robbery in Rhode Island". Fox News Channel. 2009-04-17.,2933,516928,00.html. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  21. ^ url=
  22. ^ Celizic, Mike (2009-04-27). "Was Craigslist suspect also targeting men? : Anonymous Boston man reports trading explicit e-mails with accused killer". The Today Show (NBC News). Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  23. ^ Ross, Scott (2009-04-27). ""Craigslist Killer" May Have Sought Trannies as Well". NBC New York News. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Investigators believe 'Craigslist killer' may have had gambling problem". Boston Globe. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  26. ^ "Massachusetts Police Arrest Suspect In Craigslist Killer Case". New York Daily News. 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  27. ^ "Criminal Complaint (Commonwealth v. Philip Markoff)". FindLaw. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  28. ^ Lavoie, Denise (2009-04-23). "Investigators place Craigslist ad to find victims". (Associated Press). Fox News.,4670,USCraigslistKilling,00.html. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  29. ^ "The Craigslist Killing: Case Overview". 48 Hours/Mystery (CBS News). 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  30. ^ a b c McPhee, Michele; Pearle, Lauren; De Nies, Yunji (2009-04-29). "Source: 16 Pairs of Women's Underwear Found in Home of Alleged 'Craigslist Killer': Law Enforcement Source Says 16 Panties, 60 Flex-Cuffs Found in Philip Markoff's Home". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  31. ^ Gustafson, Kristi L. (2009-04-29). "Craigslist killing suspect has supporters". Albany Times-Union. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  32. ^ "Family visits Craigslist suspect in jail". CNN. 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  33. ^ Cox, Paul. [ "Megan McAllister, ex-fiancee of accused Craigslist killer, tells him goodbye"]. NJ News. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  34. ^ a b Saltzman, Jonathan; Cramer, Maria; Slack, Donovan (2009-04-24). "Gun match reported in Markoff case: Accused killer is placed on suicide watch". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  35. ^ a b c d Fletcher, Lisa; Pearle, Lauren; McPhee, Michele (2009-04-22). "Craigslist Suspect Linked to R.I. Hotel". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  36. ^ Zezima, Katie (2009-04-24). "Gun Matches Bullets in Craigslist Murder Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  37. ^ Cramer, Maria (2009-04-23). "Sources: Preliminary tests link gun found at Markoff's home to slaying". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  38. ^ Pearle, Lauren; Fletcher, Lisa; McPhee, Michele; and Netter, Sarah (2009-04-22). "Victims' Panties Found in Craigslist Suspect's Home". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  39. ^ a b Cramer, Maria (2009-04-21). "Police traced e-mail to suspect's home". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  40. ^ a b Fletcher, Lisa; Pearle, Lauren; McPhee, Michele; and Netter, Sarah (4009-04-23). "Fingerprints, Scratches Tied to Craigslist Suspect". ABC News. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  41. ^ Montero, Douglas (2009-04-25). "Accused 'Craigslist killer' described as 'catatonic'". The New York Post. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  42. ^ Lavoie, Denise (2009-04-24). "Source: Fingerprints link Markoff to Rhode Island crime scene". Boston Herald. (Associated Press). Retrieved 2009-04-29. 

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