Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Illicit List: Crime and Craigslist

Available on Craigslist: Dating, Massage, Sex...And Murder

Julissa Brisman
Julissa Brisman
When Julissa Brisman announced she was headed to Boston for a few days to see a man she met on Craigslist, her mother, Carmen Guzman, was a little concerned. Brisman assured her mother there was nothing to worry about: He was a medical student, a nice guy.

Maybe Guzman thought things were finally looking up for her 25-year-old daughter. Brisman was getting her life on track, and an ambitious new boyfriend might be part of that. Brisman was working hard, putting herself through school and even buying a new computer for her younger sister, who was still living with her mother in their modest apartment on Manhattan's West 107th Street.

There'd been some rough patches for Julissa. The family had always had to work hard. When she was 19, Brisman had worked at Macy's flagship store at Herald Squareuntil she was arrested in June of 2002. Investigators said she'd falsely credited $3,700 in returns to her own store account, and used the credit to buy herself Macy's merchandise. She never served time for this offense, but in 2006 she was arrested again and spent 6 nights in jail on Rikers Island for charges in a now-sealed case.

Brisman had once struggled with a drinking problem, but she had cleaned up and now she was enrolled in a two-year program at the City University of New York, training to become a substance abuse counselor. She was also starting to get work as a model in print ads and videos.

Julissa Brisman
Julissa Brisman
However, she had also made decisions which savored more of expedience than preference. She worked on occasion as a topless dancer at private parties, some in far-flung locales. And what she wasn't telling her mother was that she was making more money by offering "erotic massage" which she advertised on Craigslist.

That's how she met University of Boston medical student Philip Markoff, 23, who, investigators allege, shot and killed her in a Boston hotel on April 14, 2009.


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