Philip Markoff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Philip Markoff
Born Philip Haynes Markoff
(1986-02-12)February 12, 1986
Sherrill, New York, U.S.
Died August 15, 2010(2010-08-15) (aged 24)[1]
Nashua Street Jail in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Cause of death Suicide[1]
Other names The Craigslist killer
Occupation Medical student; arraignee

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, Massachusetts, 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 committed suicide in Boston's Nashua Street Jail, where he was awaiting trial.[6][1] The media have referred to this murder and other murders as "Craigslist killings" because the killer was alleged to have met his victims through ads placed on Craigslist, two of which were offering erotic services.[7][8][9]


Markoff was the son of Susan (née Haynes)[10] and Richard Markoff, a dentist in Syracuse, New York. He had an older brother, Jon Markoff. He graduated in 2004 from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School,[11] where he was a member of the National Honor Society,[12] the History Club, the Youth Court, and the school bowling and golf teams.[13]

After high school, Markoff attended SUNY Albany where he was a pre-med student and member of the College Republicans. He graduated from SUNY Albany in 2007.[2][14] 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 following the charges against him.[14]

Markoff met Megan McAllister, a native of New Jersey, in 2005 while they were both volunteers at the Albany Medical Center Hospital emergency room.[15] They were engaged to be married, with their wedding planned for August 14, 2009.[16] McAllister was to have begun medical school in the fall of 2009.[17]

Robberies and murder[edit]

Markoff was suspected in three robberies – one of which resulted in the murder of Julissa Brisman – that occurred in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Each robbery involved a female victim, and the crimes were closely spaced in time and exhibited strong similarities.

  1. Trisha Leffler (an escort) was bound, gagged, and robbed at gunpoint on April 10, 2009, at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.[citation needed]
  2. Julissa Brisman (who had posted an advertisement online offering massage services) was found dead on April 14, 2009, at the Copley Marriott, also in Boston.[7][18][19]
  3. Corinne Stout (an exotic dancer offering lap dance services) was the victim of attempted robbery on April 16, 2009, at a Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, Rhode Island.[8]

Law enforcement officials suspected that all three were committed by the same individual.[9]

Arrest and legal proceedings[edit]

On April 20, 2009, citing security camera footage, cell phone activity, and email accounts as evidence,[20] police arrested Markoff. Markoff was charged 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.[21]

On April 21, Markoff was arraigned on murder and gun charges[22] brought by the Suffolk County DA in Brisman's slaying. The DA stated that physical evidence, including a semi-automatic handgun, wrist restraints, duct tape, and other materials were found in Markoff's apartment when the police executed a search warrant.[20][22] At his arraignment, where he was represented by Boston attorney John Salsberg, Markoff maintained his innocence and pled not guilty to all charges. He was 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.[2]

On May 4, 2009, a warrant was issued in Warwick, Rhode Island, for Markoff's arrest, seeking to charge him with assault, attempted robbery, and weapon possession in the April 16 Holiday Inn Express case. However, the Rhode Island Attorney General said that their prosecution would not go forward until the Boston cases ended.[3]

Originally, the trial against Markoff was expected to begin in July 2010. A judge subsequently delayed the start of the trial until March 2011.[23][24] Markoff's lawyer had contended that Markoff had already been unfairly "convicted" in the media at the time of his arrest, thereby adversely prejudicing his right to a fair trial.[25][26]

The Suffolk County District Attorney formally terminated prosecution as a result of Markoff's death.[27]

Reaction of family and friends to allegations[edit]

Friends, neighbors, and former teachers expressed shock and disbelief at the charges.[12][13] Some of his friends set up a Facebook group entitled "Philip Markoff Is Innocent Until Proven Guilty". Markoff's fiancée Megan McAllister initially 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".[15][28]

On April 29, McAllister's attorney Robert Honecker accompanied her to visit Markoff in jail and said that the couple's August 14 wedding plans were "dismantled".[16] She visited Markoff again on June 11, 2009, and 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".[29]

Suicide attempts and death[edit]

Unsuccessful suicide attempts[edit]

Markoff had made several apparent suicide attempts while at the Nashua Street Jail. In the first incident, jail officials found "shoelace marks" around Markoff's neck on April 23, 2009, three days after his arrest, and they placed him under suicide watch[30][31] in the psychiatric unit of Nashua Street Jail, where he was monitored around the clock.[32]

In a second incident, on the night his fiancee broke up with him, Markoff attempted to slice his wrists with a spoon he sharpened to a point using concrete in his cell.[32] He was taken off suicide watch a few days later.[32] In a third incident, on August 14, 2009, the day his wedding had been scheduled to take place, Markoff was found to have stashed medication and was taken to a medical facility.[33]


On August 15, 2010, one year and one day after the date his wedding was to have taken place,[34] Markoff was found dead in his cell at Boston's Nashua Street Jail. The cause of death was later confirmed as suicide.[1] Markoff reportedly wrote "Megan", his former fiancee's name, and "Pocket" (their pet name for each other) in blood on the wall of his cell, and distributed photographs of his fiancee and the couple around the cell.[35] He then used a "primitive scalpel", made from a prison issue pen and a piece of metal pried from a wall outlet, to cut major arteries in his ankles, legs, and neck. After swallowing toilet paper to ensure that he could not be revived, he tightened a plastic bag over his head with gauze.[36]

Markoff's death while in custody raised concerns about the safety of inmates in Massachusetts prisons.[37][38][23] The Chairman of the Boston City Council Public Safety Committee, Stephen Murphy, called for an independent investigation of Markoff's death and procedures at the Nashua Street Jail. Murphy asserted that jail officials had a duty of proper care and custody of all inmates and that Markoff should have been watched more closely given his prior suicide attempts.[38]


A television movie adaptation of Markoff's crimes, entitled The Craigslist Killer with Jake McDorman playing Markoff, premiered on Lifetime Network on January 3, 2011, almost five months after Markoff's suicide.


  1. ^ a b c d e Finucane, Martin (August 17, 2010). "DA: Markoff fashioned 'primitive scalpel' to kill himself". 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.; Christine McConville; Michele McPhee (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 Channel. April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "Craigslist killer strikes again in R.I.". Boston Herald. April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 18, 2009. 
  10. ^ Clarridge, Emerson (April 21, 2009). "Neighbors recall Markoff's family". Utica Observer-Dispatch. Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  11. ^ Ferris, Joleen (April 21, 2009). ""Craiglist Killer" shines national spotlight on hometown of Binghamton". Retrieved April 22, 2009. 
  12. ^ a b Moskowitz, Eric (April 21, 2009). "Alleged 'Craigslist killer' recalled as a nice, smart boy". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 21, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b Stevenson, Mary (April 21, 2009). "Police say VVS grad Philip Markoff 'Craigslist Killer'". The Oneida (N.Y.) Daily Dispatch. Retrieved May 2, 2009. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ a b Berry, Coleen Dee (April 20, 2009). "Wedding Is Canceled for Suspect in Craigslist Murder". The New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  17. ^ Maria Cramer (May 1, 2009). "Markoff's fiancée calls off the wedding; Visits murder suspect in jail". The Boston Globe. 
  18. ^ "Fingerprints, Gun Tie to Craigslist Suspect – ABC News". Retrieved April 24, 2009. 
  19. ^ Miranda, Jim. "Cops traced e-mail to Philip Markoff". Boston Herald. Retrieved April 24, 2009. 
  20. ^ a b Krause, Nancy (April 22, 2009), Gun, bindings found in Markoff's home: Craigslist killing suspect held without bai, WPRI Eyewitness News, retrieved August 16, 2010 
  21. ^ "Investigators believe 'Craigslist killer' may have had gambling problem". The Boston Globe. April 21, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Criminal Complaint (Commonwealth v. Philip Markoff)". FindLaw. April 21, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009. 
  23. ^ a b Martinez, Edecio (August 17, 2010). "Philip Markoff: Probe Sought in Suspected Craigslist Killer's Death". CBS News. Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Markoff trial faces more delays". The Daily Free Press. June 1, 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  25. ^ Sweet, Laurel J. (June 23, 2009). "Philip Markoff attorney eyes leaks". Boston Herald. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  26. ^ Miles, Taylor (June 23, 2009). "Markoff's lawyer claims leaked info 'tainted' grand jury". The Daily Free Press. Boston University independent student press. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Prosecutors drop murder case against alleged 'Craigslist killer' Philip Markoff". The Patriot Ledger. Quincy, MA. Associated Press. September 16, 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  28. ^ "Family visits Craigslist suspect in jail". CNN. April 25, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2009. 
  29. ^ Cox, Paul. "Megan McAllister, ex-fiancee of accused Craigslist killer, tells him goodbye". NJ News. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  30. ^ Lavoie, Denise (April 23, 2009). "Investigators place Craigslist ad to find victims". Fox News. (Associated Press). Retrieved April 24, 2009. 
  31. ^ "The Craigslist Killing: Case Overview". 48 Hours/Mystery. CBS News. April 25, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2009. 
  32. ^ a b c 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. 
  33. ^ McPhee, Michele; Dean Schabner; Nikki Battiste (August 15, 2010). "Craigslist Killer Phillip Markoff Commits Suicide". ABC News. Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  34. ^ Ford, Beverly; Helen Kennedy (August 15, 2010). "'Craigslist Killer' traced former fiancee's name on jailhouse wall in blood before his suicide". Daily News. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  35. ^ LaRosa, Paul (August 20, 2010). ""Craigslist Killer" Philip Markoff: Written in Blood". CBS News. Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  36. ^ McPhee, M. (August 17, 2010). 'Craigslist Killer' Philip Markoff Died Amid His Fiancee's Photos. archive. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  37. ^ Murphy, Shelley (August 16, 2010). "Suicide raises questions about safety of Massachusetts inmates". The Boston Globe. 
  38. ^ a b Johnson, Glen (August 16, 2010). "Jail probe sought after Craigslist suspect's death". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 

External links[edit]