Industry News

“CraigsList Killer” update- New Charges, but No New Victims

By Matt Collette from http://www.boston.com/news

June 22, 2009

Philip Markoff, the man accused in the so-called Craigslist killing at a Back Bay hotel this spring, is back in court today to answer to new charges stemming from an indictment unsealed yesterday.

Prosecutors told a grand jury that the defendant had used another man’s New York driver’s license to purchase the 9mm automatic handgun used to kill 26-year-old Julissa Brisman at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel in April. The grand jury heard testimony from victims, witnesses, and Markoff’s fiancee, Megan McAllister.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said Markoff used a driver’s license that belonged to a man named Andrew Miller to buy the gun in February. Prosecutors interviewed Miller and do not believe he is connected to the attacks.

“We’re not sure how [Markoff] got this license,’’ said Conley.

Markoff’s fingerprint was found on registration forms filled out when the firearm was purchased, Conley said.

The grand jury returned the seven-count indictment late Thursday, said Jake Wark, Conley’s spokesman. Markoff, 23, will be arraigned this morning in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery, two counts of armed kidnapping, armed assault with intent to commit robbery, and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

After his April 20 arrest, Markoff pleaded not guilty to charges connected to killing Brisman and robbing Trisha Leffler, a 29-year-old prostitute from Las Vegas who said Markoff took her debit card, $800 in cash, and $250 in gift cards.

In both cases, and in a third assault in Warwick, R.I., Markoff is accused of using prepaid cellphones and temporary e-mail addresses to make appointments with victims who had advertised erotic services on Craigslist, then tying his victims with plastic zip ties and duct tape.

His attacks were quick and brutal and his methods were similar in all the cases, Conley said.

“He had a very brief encounter with Julissa Brisman,’’ said Conley. “He bound her hands, he used the same [kind of] ties that he used on Trisha Leffler, and they had a very, very violent struggle. And, in the course of that struggle, he hit Miss Brisman in the head with his gun. He then pressed the gun into her chest and he fired the gun. She suffered three gunshot wounds, and he fled the grounds.’’

Markoff’s court-appointed lawyer, John Salsberg, said his client would plead not guilty to all charges but declined to comment further yesterday.

Markoff was attending Boston University School of Medicine at the time of the attacks, but officials suspended him when prosecutors filed criminal charges. Before that, he had graduated from the State University of New York at Albany, where he met McAllister.

The indictment was handed down after the grand jury saw evidence presented by prosecutors and heard testimony from witnesses, two victims, and McAllister, said Conley.

Conley said his office presented volumes of physical evidence, including security footage that allegedly shows Markoff entering and leaving each attack, and fingerprints recovered from the duct tape and the plastic ties Markoff used to bind his victims.

Police recovered Miller’s driver’s license when Markoff was arrested on Interstate 95. He told police he and McAllister, who was in the car with him, were headed to Foxwoods casino in Connecticut.

Conley said McAllister has cooperated with investigators.

After searching Markoff’s Quincy apartment in April, police found the 9mm automatic handgun hidden inside a hollowed-out copy of “Gray’s Anatomy,’’ a medical textbook.

While initially fearful that Markoff had attacked more women, Conley said he now believes the investigation is complete.

“In the days after the incident occurred, I was worried that there may be other victims out there,’’ he said. “We posted an advertisement on Craigslist ourselves, and at this point no one has come forward.’’

Matt Collette can be reached at [email protected]

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