Philip Markoff

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Philip Markoff
Philip Haynes Markoff

(1986-02-12)February 12, 1986
DiedAugust 15, 2010(2010-08-15) (aged 24)[1]
Cause of deathSuicide[1]
Other namesThe Craigslist Killer
OccupationMedical student

Philip Haynes Markoff (February 12, 1986 – August 15, 2010)[1] was an American medical student who was charged with the armed robbery and murder of Julissa Brisman in a Boston hotel on April 14, 2009, and two other armed robberies.[2][3] Markoff maintained his innocence of all charges and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. A grand jury indicted Markoff for first-degree murder, armed robbery, and other charges.[4][5]

On August 15, 2010, Markoff died by suicide in Boston's Nashua Street Jail, where he was awaiting trial.[1][6] Markoff was one of several criminals described by media outlets as the "Craigslist Killer", because the killer was alleged to have met his victims through ads placed on the internet site Craigslist. Two of Markoff's alleged victims were offering erotic services on Craigslist.[7][8][9]


Philip Markoff was the son of Susan (née Haynes)[10] and Richard Markoff, a dentist in Syracuse, New York. He had an older brother, Jonathan Markoff, and a half-sister (whose father was Susan's second husband, Gary Carroll, a banker).[11] He graduated in 2004 from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School,[12] where he was a member of the National Honor Society,[13] the History Club, the Youth Court, and the school bowling and golf teams.[14]

After high school, Markoff attended SUNY Albany where he was a pre-med student. He graduated from SUNY Albany in 2007, and applied for medical schools after taking the MCAT.[2][15] He was a second-year medical student at Boston University School of Medicine at the time of the crimes. He was suspended from the school after the criminal charges filed against him.[15]

Markoff met Megan McAllister, a native of New Jersey, in 2005, while they were both volunteers at the Albany Medical Center Hospital emergency room.[16] They were engaged to be married, with their wedding planned for August 14, 2009.[17] McAllister was to have begun medical school in the fall of 2009.[18]

Robberies and murder[edit]

Markoff was suspected in three robberies, one of which included a murder.

Police suspected that the three crimes – close in time and similar in many ways – were committed by the same person.[9] Security camera footage, cell phone activity, and email evidence led police to suspect Markoff in the April 10 and April 14 incidents,[21] and he was arrested April 20 in Walpole, Massachusetts while he and his fiancée were en route to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.[22]

On April 21, he was arraigned in Brisman's death; the prosecutor stated that a semi-automatic handgun, wrist restraints, and duct tape had been found in Markoff's apartment.[21][23] Markoff pleaded not guilty.[2] On May 4, Rhode Island officials issued a warrant for Markoff's arrest in the April 16 incident, though the state's Attorney General said that their prosecution would not go forward until the Boston charges were resolved.[3] Markoff's trial was originally expected to begin in July 2010 but was later delayed to March 2011.[24][25]

Markoff's fiancée initially affirmed her belief in his innocence, calling him "beautiful inside and out",[16][26] but on April 29 she visited Markoff in jail to call off their wedding.[17] On June 11, she visited Markoff a second time and told him she did not plan to see him again for "a long period of time, if ever".[27]


Markoff made several suicide attempts while at the Nashua Street Jail; one attempt was made three days after his arrest, an additional attempt after his fiancée broke up with him, and another attempt on the day his wedding was to have taken place. At various times he was on suicide watch or in the jail's psychiatric unit.[28][29][30][31]

On August 15, 2010, one year and one day after his wedding was to have taken place,[32] Markoff was found dead in his cell.[1] He had used a knife, made from a pen and a piece of metal, to cut arteries in his ankles, legs, and neck. He had also swallowed toilet paper and tightened a plastic bag over his head with gauze.[33] Additionally, he had written his former fiancée's name and their pet names for each other in blood on the cell wall, and photographs of the two of them were scattered about.[34]

Media adaptations[edit]

  • Seven Days of Rage, the Deadly Crime Spree of the Craigslist Killer[35] by Paul La Rosa,[36] was published in 2009 by Simon & Schuster.
  • The April 25, 2009 episode of the CBS News television series 48 Hours Mystery, titled "The Craigslist Killing: Case Overview", was devoted to the case.[29]
  • A Date with Death: The Secret Life of the Accused "Craigslist Killer" written by Michele McPhee, was published by St. Martin's True Crime Library on May 25, 2010.[37]
  • A television movie, The Craigslist Killer, which premiered on Lifetime Network on January 3, 2011, is based on McPhee's book.
  • The Season 3 premiere of Murder Made Me Famous, which aired on April 8, 2017, chronicled the case.
  • The fourth episode of Season 5 (2019) of Investigation Discovery show See No Evil covered Julissa Brisman's murder and the search for her killer.[38]


  1. ^ a b c d e Finucane, Martin (August 17, 2010). "DA: Markoff fashioned 'primitive scalpel' to kill himself". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Med student held without bail in possible Craigslist killing". CNN. April 2, 2009. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Zezima, Katie (May 5, 2009). "New Warrant for Defendant in Boston Case". The New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
  4. ^ Collette, Matt (June 21, 2009). "Accused Craigslist killer indicted". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on June 24, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
  5. ^ Goodnough, Abby (June 21, 2009). "Medical Student Is Indicted in Craigslist Killing". The New York Times. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
  6. ^ Sweet, Laurel J.; McConville, Christine; McPhee, Michele (August 15, 2010). "Sources: Accused 'Craigslist Killer' Markoff commits suicide". Boston Herald. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Craig's List 'Massage' Ad Tied To Marriott Murder". WBZ-TV. April 15, 2009. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 18, 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Boston 'Craigslist' Killing May Be Linked to Attempted Robbery in Rhode Island". Fox News. April 17, 2009. Archived from the original on May 28, 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Dwinell, Joe (April 17, 2009). "Craigslist killer strikes again in R.I." Boston Herald. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2009.
  10. ^ Clarridge, Emerson (April 21, 2009). "Neighbors recall Markoff's family". Observer-Dispatch. Utica, NY. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Orth, Maureen (October 2009). "Killer@Craigslist". Vanity Fair.
  12. ^ Ferris, Joleen (April 21, 2009). "'Craiglist Killer' shines national spotlight on hometown of Binghamton". WKTV. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
  13. ^ Moskowitz, Eric (April 21, 2009). "Alleged 'Craigslist killer' recalled as a nice, smart boy". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  14. ^ Stevenson, Mary (April 21, 2009). "Police say VVS grad Philip Markoff 'Craigslist Killer'". Oneida Daily Dispath. The Oneida Daily Dispatch. Archived from the original on September 18, 2019.
  15. ^ a b Goodnough, Abby; Schweber, Nate; Hernandez, Javier C. (April 28, 2009). "Details, but Little Insight, on Craigslist Killing Suspect". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2009.
  16. ^ a b Van Sack, Jessica. "He wouldn't 'hurt a fly': Alleged killer's fiancee stands by her man". Boston Herald. Retrieved April 30, 2009.
  17. ^ a b Berry, Coleen Dee (April 20, 2009). "Wedding Is Canceled for Suspect in Craigslist Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  18. ^ Cramer, Maria (May 1, 2009). "Markoff's fiancée calls off the wedding; Visits murder suspect in jail". The Boston Globe.
  19. ^ De Nies, Yunji; Fletcher, Lisa; Pearle, Lauren; McPhee, Michele; Netter, Sarah. "Fingerprints, Gun Tie to Craigslist Suspect". ABC News. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  20. ^ Miranda, Jim (April 22, 2009). "Cops traced e-mail to Philip Markoff". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on May 26, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  21. ^ a b Krause, Nancy (April 22, 2009). "Gun, bindings found in Markoff's home: Craigslist killing suspect held without bai". WPRI-TV. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  22. ^ Saltzman, Jonathan; Cramer, Maria; Ellement, John R. (April 21, 2009). "Alleged 'Craigslist killer' was heading to Foxwoods with fiancée". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  23. ^ "Criminal Complaint (Commonwealth v. Philip Markoff)". FindLaw. April 21, 2009. Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
  24. ^ Martinez, Edecio (August 17, 2010). "Philip Markoff: Probe Sought in Suspected Craigslist Killer's Death". CBS News. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  25. ^ Lutz, Jaime (June 1, 2010). "Markoff trial faces more delays". The Daily Free Press. Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  26. ^ "Family visits Craigslist suspect in jail". CNN. April 25, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2009.
  27. ^ Cox, Paul (June 23, 2009). "Megan McAllister, ex-fiancee of accused Craigslist killer, tells him goodbye". Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  28. ^ Lavoie, Denise (April 23, 2009). "Investigators place Craigslist ad to find victims". Fox News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  29. ^ a b "The Craigslist Killing: Case Overview". 48 Hours. CBS News. April 25, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2009.
  30. ^ McPhee, Michele; Pearle, Lauren; De Nies, Yunji (April 29, 2009). "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 April 30, 2009.
  31. ^ McPhee, Michele; Schabner, Dean; Battiste, Nikki (August 15, 2010). "Craigslist Killer Phillip Markoff Commits Suicide". ABC News. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  32. ^ Ford, Beverly; Kennedy, Helen (August 15, 2010). "'Craigslist Killer' traced former fiancee's name on jailhouse wall in blood before his suicide". Daily News. New York. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  33. ^ McPhee, Michele (August 17, 2010). "'Craigslist Killer' Philip Markoff Died Amid His Fiancee's Photos". ABC News. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  34. ^ LaRosa, Paul (August 20, 2010). "'Craigslist Killer' Philip Markoff: Written in Blood". CBS News. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  35. ^ LaRosa, Paul (May 25, 2010). Seven Days of Rage. ISBN 9781439196557.
  36. ^ LaRosa, Paul. "Here is New York". Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  37. ^ McPhee, Michele (May 25, 2010). A Date with Death: The Secret Life of the Accused "Craigslist Killer. St. Martin's True Crime Library. ISBN 9780312945060.
  38. ^ "The Man in the Black Hat". See No Evil. Season 5. Episode 4. March 13, 2019. Investigation Discovery. Retrieved July 3, 2019.

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