Items Link Craigslist Suspect To Victims

By: Kelly Wallace, CBS News
By: Kelly Wallace, CBS News

BOSTON - A Boston University medical student accused of robbing women who advertised erotic services on Craigslist, killing one of them, had items belonging to both victims in his apartment, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.

Philip Markoff is charged with killing a masseuse at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel, in the historic Back Bay district, on April 14. He also is charged in the robbery of a woman at another Boston hotel four days earlier. Law enforcement officials told CBS News police found a pair of pantyhose believed to belong to one of the victims' hidden in Markoff's apartment in Quincy, south of Boston.

Police found a handgun hidden in a hollowed-out copy of the medical textbook Gray’s Anatomy for the Human Body, confirming what the Boston Globe reported earlier this afternoon. Law enforcement authorities were doing ballistics tests on the gun to see if it’s the murder weapon.

Investigators are looking into gambling as the possible motivation. Markoff was on his way to the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut with his fiancee and more than $1,000 cash when he was arrested on Monday on Interstate 95. Markoff has visited Foxwoods before and that the casino is cooperating with investigators.

Markoff, 23, is accused in the death of Julissa Brisman, of New York City, a masseuse who was found dead in the doorway of her hotel room after being bashed in the head and shot three times. A wake for Brisman was held Wednesday in Manhattan, where her parents live.

Markoff also is accused of robbing and tying up another woman, and police have said there could be more victims.

Defense attorney John Salsberg has said Markoff isn't guilty of the charges and "has his family's support." Markoff's fiancee, Megan McAllister, insists police have the wrong man.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said that he believes Markoff's original motive was robbery but that he ended up killing Brisman, 26, when she fought back.

The first woman Markoff is accused of robbing said she believes she's alive because she didn't resist.

"I just complied with everything he wanted me to do and I didn't resist him in any way, and I think that's why," she said in an interview with Boston television station WCVB.

Prosecutors have not released her name.

The 29-year-old Las Vegas woman, who also advertised as a masseuse on Craigslist, said she was attacked April 10 at the Westin Copley hotel.

She said she had identified Markoff from the surveillance photos police distributed. She said he was wearing the same clothing and she recognized his face.

The woman said she was able to slip out of the plastic ties she was bound with about a minute after Markoff left and escape. She said she was robbed of $800 in cash, a debit card and $250 in American Express gift cards.

Markoff also is suspected in an attempted robbery in Warwick, R.I., of a woman who had posted a Craigslist ad as a stripper. The woman was held at gunpoint before her husband entered the hotel room and her attacker fled.

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch said in a statement Wednesday that Warwick police have developed "promising information" about the April 16 robbery at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

"Although we're encouraged by the progress being made, this is a complex investigation and is going to take more time," Lynch said.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Wednesday called on Craigslist to stop what he calls "pimping and prostitution in plain sight." He asked the site to immediately eliminate photographs in the "erotic services" section, hire staff to screen images and ads that violate the site's terms of service and fine those who violate those terms.


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