Preppy Medical Student Charged as 'Craigslist Killer'

UPDATED 04/21/2009 at 02:55 PM EDT Originally published 04/21/2009 at 09:25 AM EDT

Preppy Medical Student Charged as 'Craigslist Killer'
Philip Markoff
David L. Ryan/Boston Globe/Landov
An intensive police investigation along the Eastern Seaboard came to a dramatic conclusion at 4 p.m. Monday, when Boston police arrested a 22-year-old, engaged-to-be-married, second-year Boston University medical student – accused of murdering a New York woman at a luxury Boston hotel last week and of earlier attacking another woman, both of whom had advertised personal services on Craigslist.

Philip Markoff, of Quincy, Mass., has been charged with the April 14 fatal shooting of masseuse Julissa Brisman, 26, at Boston's Marriott Copley Hotel. He also is expected to be charged in the April 10 armed robbery and kidnapping of a woman who was tied up at the Westin Copley. She identified her attacker to police as a clean-cut, 6-ft.-tall blond man who bound her with plastic cord.

"We are very, very happy to have this man off the streets in a timely way," Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said at a Monday night press conference. Markoff, who has no criminal history, appeared Tuesday for a brief hearing in Boston Municipal Court. He said nothing.

Davis credited the arrest to 24-hour surveillance that relied on a wide range of forensic evidence, including fingerprints, the Boston Globe reports. Photos taken by surveillance cameras of a man meeting Markoff's description and leaving the hotels after the two incidents were also widely shown on national TV.

Suspended from School

The preppy-looking Markoff – whose arrest and possible secret sexual life has shocked his fellow students as well as his stepfather – had been stopped by police while driving on Interstate 95 after what crime experts are calling an old-fashioned police manhunt.

A spokeswoman for the Boston University School of Medicine told the Globe that Markoff has been suspended because of the charges against him, while a former classmate said, "He seemed like a nice guy, and he was a helpful, smart kid."

Calling the suspect a "predator," Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley asked for other possible Craigslist ad victims of Markoff to step forward. "We want to help you," Conley said at press news conference.

A wedding Web site lists Markoff as engaged to Megan McAllister, whom he met at the State University of New York at Albany. McAllister could not be reached for comment.

Markoff's former stepfather expressed his shock. "He's a great kid. I can't believe what's going on," said the man who identified himself only as Gary (and is divorced from Markoff's mother). "He's a very bright, intelligent, articulate guy. I just keep thinking there must be some mistake."

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