Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Illicit List: Crime and Craigslist

Betrayed By Technology

Erotic Services ad from craigslist.com
Erotic Services ad from craigslist.com
Investigators say Philip Markoff and Julissa Brisman arranged to meet in her room on the 20th floor of the Boston Marriott Copley Place. The details of what happened there aren't yet clear, but a struggle ensued. He allegedly tried to tie her up, and, when she fought back, hit her on the head and fired three shots, one of which struck her heart.

She was pronounced dead at Boston Medical Center, the very hospital at which Markoff happened to be training.

When Brisman didn't return to New York on April 15, Mary Beth Simons, her former roommate, logged on to Brisman's email account and forwarded to detectives an email showing that Brisman had planned to meet a man at that Marriott. Brisman had let clients know that she was available in Boston that week. Her email listed her $200 per hour rate for "sensual massage," including "hand stress relief"; further stating that extras could be negotiated in person.

Police reviewed security camera footage from the hotel and tried to identify a suspect. Meanwhile, they received an assortment of weird tips. Disgruntled women across the city thought their philandering husbands or boyfriends might be the killer. One Florida sex offender called to tell police that he wasn't sure, but that he just might have committed the crime himself.

Philip Markoff
Philip Markoff
By Saturday night, April 18, police had traced the IP address of the computer that sent the message to Brisman to an apartment at 8 High Point Circle in Quincy. That was the home of Philip Markoff, and the 6'3 blond strongly resembled the man captured on the hotel videotape.

And another victim concurred.

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