Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boston med student charged in 'Craigslist killing'

PhilipMarkoff wedding.jonmarkoff.com

A Boston University medical student with no criminal record was arrested Monday and charged with being the 'Craigslist Killer,' the man who attacked women who advertised on the Web site to arrange meetings for erotic services.

Philip Markoff, 22, of Quincy, Mass., was charged by Boston police with last week's slaying of JuLissa Brisman, 26, of NewYork.
Brisman had advertised her massage services on the site. She was killed at the Copley Marriott hotel while resisting a robbery attempt, police believe.

Markoff was also charged with an earlier attack on a prostitute at another hotel. "He's a predator," said Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley. Markoff remains a suspect in the attack on a woman at a hotel in Warwick, R.I. The suspect was captured on surveillance photos at all three crime scenes, police said. In several photos, he appears unconcerned as he typed on his BlackBerry.

Police said that they believe these may not have been Markoff's first attacks. Police want to hear from "those out there who may have been a victim at the hands of Philip Markoff, especially those who have used Craigslist," Conley said.

Watch Uncut Video Of News Conference

"If you were robbed after placing an ad on Craigslist, we urge you to contact the Boston Police Department," he said.

Boston police said investigators had followed up on more than 150 tips received since surveillance photos of the Boston hotels were released last week.

"They followed high-tech leads and they used old-fashioned shoe leather. They connected computer IP addresses to physical locations," Conley said. "This is a compelling case with a myriad of evidence -- with computer evidence being a part of it," Conley said, adding that additional search warrants would be executed this week.

Markoff's arraignment was set for Tuesday morning at the Boston Municipal Court. It was not immediately clear if he had retained defense counsel.

Police Commissioner Edward Davis said his detectives had Markoff under surveillance "for days" before making the arrest. Markoff was arrested after being pulled over on Interstate 95 in Walpole, Mass., Monday afternoon. Police said he did not resist arrest.

Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said the company was "horrified and deeply saddened that our community services have been associated in any way whatsoever with a crime of violence."
He promised that Craigslist would evaluate the incident to see if additional measures could be introduced to further protect users.

As katfishponders reported in an earlier blog entitled When Advertising or Answering an Ad Online, BE CAREFUL, You May Get More Than You Bargained For, the victims in this case were involved in high risk behavior; however, as in the other case mentioned in that post about the killing of Katherine Olson, who was answering an ad for a nanny position, crime is just a click away if you're not careful. While it seems crazy that people would choose to select their victims from an online site such as Craigslist, given the fact they can be so easily traced....that seems to be the point....they must not care if they get caught, and by the time they do the deed may already be done. Protect yourself by educating yourself.

Here is a list of safety tips from Craigslist:

Craigslist is a popular website where people can connect to meet others, sell goods, or advertise events. However, dangers can exist if you don't take proper precautions.

When meeting someone for the first time, the website urges people to:

Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe

Tell a friend or family member where you're going

Take your cell phone along if you have one

Consider having a friend accompany you

Trust your instincts

How sharp are your online safety skills? Take the safety quiz on
getsafeonline.org to find out what skills on which you may need to brush up.

You can also find more valuable tips on wiredsafety.org.

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