The Craigslist Killer - Crime Museum (2024)

Craigslist is a popular website typically used to buy items or services; however, for Philip Markoff it was a tool that allowed him to commit crimes while living a double life.

Philip Markoff grew up in a small town in New York, where he excelled academically and participated in a variety of student groups and activities, including the National Honor Society. After graduating from high school, he became a pre-med student at The State University of New York’s Albany campus. Markoff spent a lot of time focusing on his studies and volunteering in the emergency room of the Albany Medical Center Hospital. In his free time, he enjoyed staying up all night playing poker with friends, and had a reputation for being a serious player who did not take losing lightly.

In 2005, Markoff met Megan McAllister while they were volunteering at the hospital. Both were students at SUNY and soon became college sweethearts. Markoff graduated in just three years with a bachelor’s degree in biology and was accepted in to Boston University’s School of Medicine. McAllister had also planned on attending medical school, but because she was not accepted by the schools she wanted to attend, the couple moved to Boston and Megan put her plans on hold. In 2008, Markoff and McAllister were engaged, and set their wedding date for August 14, 2009. McAllister kept herself busy with wedding planning, while Markoff attended medical school and frequented casinos – racking up over $130,000 in debt.

In April 2009, Boston police were investigating two separate attacks on women who had advertised erotic services online and had planned to meet their “client” at a luxury hotel. On April 10, 2009, 29-year-old Trisha Leffler, an escort, was gagged, bound, and robbed at gunpoint at a Westin hotel by a man who had responded to an ad she placed on Craigslist. Four days later, Julissa Brisman was found murdered in the doorway of her Marriott hotel room. It appeared that she had been trying to fight off her attacker, when she was shot multiple times. She had placed an ad on Craigslist offering erotic massage services and had scheduled an appointment to meet a man named “Andy” at her hotel room. Police believed the same attacker was linked to the attempted robbery of Cynthia Melton, an exotic dancer offering lap dance services. Markoff had scheduled an appointment to meet her at a Holiday Inn hotel in Rhode Island through the usage of a disposable TracFone cell phone. The three incidents were similar in that the motive appeared to be robbery, the attacks were on women offering sexual services, the dates were close together, and two of the women had been bound with plastic cords. Through all of this, Markoff’s fiancée remained in the dark – believing that he was “beautiful inside and out.”

Through security camera footage and electronic evidence, police determined that the person of interest in the three incidents was a young, blonde, clean-cut man, about 6 feet tall. Police traced an email that had been sent to Julissa in response to her Craigslist ad and the electronic trail led them to Philip Markoff’s Boston apartment. Police followed Markoff for several days, and finally pulled him over while he was driving to a local casino with his fiancée, Megan. He was accused of murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping. During the investigation of Markoff’s apartment, police located a gun, bullets matching those found in the Brisman case, plastic zip-ties, duct tape, a laptop with communication to Brisman, several TracFone cell phones, and several pairs of stolen women’s underwear – 2 of which belonged to Leffler. Upon discovery of the evidence, Markoff was arraigned on murder and gun charges for the slaying of Brisman; Markoff pled not guilty. Markoff’s trial was delayed until March 2011.

Initially, Megan McAlister stood by Markoff and believed he was innocent; but, in June 2009, she visited him in jail to end their relationship. While in jail, Markoff made several, unsuccessful suicide attempts; however, on August 15, 2010, Markoff was found dead in his jail cell – one year and one day after the date his wedding was to have taken place. It was determined that he had committed suicide through self-inflicted wounds and suffocation. ABC News reported that Markoff had “evidently used an object shaved into a razor to slash major arteries in his ankles, legs and neck… covered his head with a plastic bag and stuffed toilet paper down his throat so jail authorities could not resuscitate him, then covered himself head-to-toe with a blanket.” Before he died, he wrote the name “Megan” on his cell wall in blood and placed photos of Megan throughout his cell.

For more information, please visit:
The Philip Markoff Biography

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The Craigslist Killer - Crime Museum (2024)


Who was Philip Markoff's fiance? ›

He was suspended from the school after the criminal charges filed against him. Markoff met Megan McAllister, a native of New Jersey, in 2005, while they were both volunteers at the Albany Medical Center Hospital emergency room. They were engaged to be married, with their wedding planned for August 14, 2009.

Where is Richard Beasley now? ›

Beasley has continuously maintained his innocence and remains at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution in Ohio.

Is Philip Markoff alive? ›

Former medical student Philip Markoff, 24, was found unresponsive in his cell yesterday morning in the Nashua Street Jail. He was pronounced dead at about 10.15am, according to the Suffolk County district attorney's office.

What evidence was found against Philip Markoff? ›

Police had the evidence - the trackfones Markoff allegedly used to schedule meetings with his victims, the cable ties he allegedly wrapped around his victims' wrists, the Gray's Anatomy book he carved out, the alleged murder weapon that had been hidden inside, and the shoes he was wearing the day he was arrested.

Did Megan McAllister ever get married? ›

The couple, both med students, were scheduled to get married in a lavish August wedding. But McAllister told him that the nuptials are canceled, sources said. Markoff, who had earlier been put on a suicide watch and was required to wear paper clothing for his safety, received his former fiancee in a new outfit.

What was the motive of the Craigslist killer? ›

Describing Markoff's alleged activities, Wark said, “The actions he took suggest a darker motive than a purely financial one. He chose vulnerable women who would be reluctant to speak out. His actions suggest a desire to dominate women, to control women and to visit violence upon women.”

Why did Richard Beasley do it? ›

If he were arrested, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. So Beasley began to target men like Kern. At first because he needed a new identity, and later to provide income to support a life on the run.

Who is Richard Beasley's daughter? ›

Tonya Beasley: Self - Richard & Tina's Daughter.

What happened to Megan McAllister? ›

Now McAllister is moving on with her life, Honecker said, preparing to attend a medical school in the Caribbean. She also cooperated with the grand jury that handed down a formal indictment. Markoff pleaded not guilty Monday to seven charges, including kidnapping, armed robbery and weapons violations.

How old is Megan McAllister? ›

Megan McAllister, 25, told the Herald, “I will stand by Philip as I know he is innocent.”

Was Philip Markoff intelligent? ›

"He was very intelligent," she says. "He was definitely lacking in some social skills. … It didn't seem like he was always 100 percent comfortable in his own skin." Houston says she and Markoff were friends, but that was it.

How was Philip Markoff caught? ›

But it wasn't physical evidence that eventually led police to the Boston University medical student. It was a trove of cyber information — IP addresses, emails, Facebook activity — that Markoff left behind when he logged onto his computer and began browsing the web.

Who was the killer found by DNA test? ›

Law enforcement identified Joseph James DeAngelo, who in 2020 pleaded guilty to 13 murders attributed to the GSK, using forensic genetic genealogy, a combination of DNA analysis and traditional genealogy.

When was Tali Shapiro abducted? ›

On the morning of Sept. 25, 1968, Tali Shapiro, dressed for school in a white dress and Mary Jane shoes, was walking on Sunset Boulevard when Alcala persuaded her to get into his car and drove her to his house, where he knocked her unconscious. Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage?

Who is the female serial killer LaBarre? ›

In June 2008, Sheila LaBarre was found sane and convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, reported The Portsmouth Herald. She was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. To this day, investigators are unsure how many men LaBarre killed.


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