The Craigslist Killer

The Craigslist Killer



Three different women who advertised there Erotic Services on a section of Craigslist are brutally assaulted and only one is killed. Boston police use witness reports and surveillance videos to identify a young man who no one would ever suspect to be a killer.

This crime is shocking as there is an extreme predator on the hunt going though Craigslist identifying woman who offer erotic services linking him to a string of murders, but he leads a double life and who be least to expect.

In Boston, Massachusetts on Friday, April 10th 2009, the predator looks though the website and Craigslist, he stopped a on post on a 29 year traveling escort Tricia Leffler who went by the name Sweet Blonde.


Shortly after midnight the suspected client calls and Sweet Blonde tells the client will cost $200 per hour for her services he agrees and asks to meet in her hotel room which was located at Boston upscale The Westin Copley Place, little did the woman know just how much danger she was about to be in. Tricia meets with the client on the 13th floor waiting outside the door for him.


At this point of seeing him she will decide if she wants to go ahead with the meet or not or if she feels to uncomfortable to give her services or not, to enter into the room with him or not. What she is met with is a seemingly normal handsome, athletic and tall all American boy, making it look like nothing could go wrong in the slightest.

However the moment the man got into the room he was fast to pull out a handgun on the woman and zip ties her to the bathroom doorknob and tapes her mouth shut the funny thing was the behavioural profiler finds he made no advances to sexually assault or harm the young woman in any way and out of respect I will not describe how she might of felt since I don’t know she was probably filled with many different emotions.


But this man had a different agender and that much was clear, once she was restrained he proceeded to rummage thought her luggage and steals $800 in cash, gift cards and a debt card. The man also grabs her phone to delete any evidence of the recent contact to make sure he can’t be traced, he shows that he has some forensic sophistication by wearing gloves the entire time this was all taking place to make sure not to leave any finger prints, however he was not able to delete his number from her phone with the gloves on so he ended up having to take them off in order to get rid of his contact, which leaves the possibility to leave a possible print on the phone ultimately he cut the phone line and steals one of her panties as like a trophy of some kind in order for him to relive this experience when he alone.

By time the young woman broke free from the rip lines and makes a dash to security to alert them the suspect is long gone.

Just only 3 days later, an expiring actor from New York city named Julissa Brisman comes to Boston and gets a hotel room just down the road for the Western. This woman also places an ad in the erotic section on Craigslist marketing herself as Hot Brunette Model, with as quoted from the add ‘ a great touch’


Julissa Brisman is a very young woman as she was only the age of 24 who unfortunately fell on very hard times. She was at the time trying her best to turn her life around by doing such things as enrolling in city college, to become a drugs and alcohol councillor but one the side she advertising sensual massages on Craigslist.

On Tuesday, April 14th 2009 at 9:45pm. Julissa’s ad receives a phone call off a man using the name Andy M. As a safety precaution the call goes Brisman friend called Beth who will screen all the clients prior session, this then in turns adds an additional safety barrier so the client will know that their will be an electronic trace from the client’s phone to Beth’s phone. Beth then goes on to tell the client to me Julissa at 10pm at the Boston Marriot comply place.



At 9:50pm the hotel surveillance cameras they capture a man wearing a dark jacket and a baseball cap who is looking down at his phone text situationally as he is walking though the hotel lobby he then processed to take the elevator to the 20th floor he then arrives at the room 2034 the woman allows the man to enter within the blink of an eye she was staring down the barrel of 9mm pistol within second the young woman found herself being bound with zip ties.

Julissa luckily manages to scratch her attacker grabbing a hold of his DNA underneath her finger nails however she couldn’t hold the attacker off for long within all the struggle the attacker begins to pistol whip the young girl in the head before shooting her three times at close range.

Nearby hotel guests hear shrieking coming from the room in 2034, a woman steps out into the hallway only to find the horrific sight of Julissa half way in and half way out of her hotel room, the hotel guest was fast to alert security, then the police were called and immediately responded to the scene, and they come to find an unconscious Julissa on the floor, she was then rushed to hospital unfortunately she later died due to her injuries at the hospital.


The Killer has seemed to escape undetected or so he may of thought, just before 10:06pm cameras catch him leaving the hotel lobby with his baseball cap off.


This then make the police thing as the woman known as Tricia Leffler had filled for a assault charges against a man who seemed almost to match up and since she was left alive she would’ve been able to give a very detailed description of the man in question so the police decided to link this too violent act together.

The police show Leffler a picture of the security cameras of the night of the Brisman murder and she then tell them it was a great photo of the man that did assault her. With her very detailed description of the man and then  the photo from the security camera they were able to build a suspect very quickly which was the first major step into catching this killer.

They got their first break the day after the murder when Julissa friend Beth the friend that screen all the clients before each session contacts them. She told the police the man that last had an appointment was someone who went by the name Andy M, he also used an email Even though that email address was just temporary, the email also came with an IP addressed linked to it.

The police then subpoena Microsoft for the IP address but it would take 4 days to get the information needed, which means at that point in time the Craigslist killer was still at large. Within the mean time the police believed they could track him down using the cell tower recorders but the killer used prepaid cell phones which were hard to trace.

This then caused the investigation to stall, Sunday April 16th 2009,  A woman called Cynthia Melton received a message though Craigslist with a man requesting her erotic services. Cynthia Melton was an exotic dancer who worked in a strip club in Provenance Rhode Island. She was one to offer $100 lap dances in the erotic section of Craigslist. Melton sets up the meeting at 11pm as a Holiday Inn Express in Warwick Rhode Island which is estimated to be 60 miles south of Boston at 10:51pm the surveillance camera catch sight of the client entering the hotel while also texting Melton.

The client arrives at Melton door room 348, Melton husband is in the adjoining room to for security under normal circumstances Melton would notify her husband that the client had arrived, but in this instant she didn’t have time to alert him as soon as he got into a room he pulled out a gun and orders her to lay on the floor he then proceeds to bind her wrists with zip ties, and makes an attempt to gag her.


Once he had her restrained he began to rummage around the room looking for cash and credit cards. He then tells Melton that he isn’t going to kill her he only looking for money. This point in time Melton husband begins to grow concerned after not hearing anything from his wife. he then comes though the door using an alternative key and startles the client and her husband soon find himself face to face with a pistol, the client manages to escape down a nearby stairwell.

This then leads investigators to rummage though all the security footage, and they question who is this man walking away from the hotel with his head down, it’s non other than the Craigslist Killer, with the same build and same jacket and hat but most importantly same MO.

At this point they know he is picking high risk victims and would be considered smart as he is able to take advantaged of these woman and allowing himself to get inside these hotel rooms, but he is not criminally sophisticated as he is doing these crimes in a public place where he will get caught on the likes of security camera’s so they investigators linked this to a young guy due to the lack of experience in the criminal field.

On  April 19th 2009, the police were finally able to get the information on the IP address for the Craigslist killer, which brought the investigators straight to a place in Massachusetts with the place being under the name of Philip Markoff, this finally gave there suspect a name.


After a week long intense investigation the Boston police home in on this address of the supposed Craigslist Killer staking out the Apartment complex laying in wait for there target to emerge within 24hours they manage to catch a photo of a young, tall clean cut white male, called Philip Markoff.

Philip Markoff is a 24 year old medical student, with a devoted fiancé, at first glance the police found it hard to believe this was their man, from first glance you would think he’s the all American boy. At 1:30pm he leaves his apartment with his fiancé and some undercover police men begin to follow him to a local supermarket they watch to see if he touches something they could get his finger prints off of.


Little did Markoff know when he went to take his shopping cart back an help undercover officer offered to take it and he smiled and thanked him for saving a trip. He handed his finger print’s straight over to the police within having a single clue what was going on, but now they had his fingerprints it was game over for the Craigslist killer.

Monday April 20th 2009, the police stakeout team spot Markoff leaving his apartment with his fiancé with a small suitcase and an over the shoulder bag. This then causes the police men to become worried thinking that Markoff may make an attempt to flee the location.

Markoff then speeds off in the car with his fiancé and this turns to an intense high speed chase, before he eventually pulls over 30 miles south of Boston.

When the police managed to pull him over he makes the excuse that he had no idea the police were chasing him, at that point they decided to bring him in for questioning, this questioning took a whole 7 hours, trying to get him to admit being in the Marriott hotel just before Julissa was murdered.

Mark off says I quote ‘ I don’t really know what you are talking about’ at this point the character profiler explains what he is trying to do is convince you that its not him but the word ‘really’ shows the profiler that he is in fact lying.

During the police interview Markoff is seen as very cocky and defiant and that he will be non co-operative and in the polices mind a real jerk.

The police then go on to ask ‘ is it possible your walk though the hotel in the past couple of weeks’

His response was ‘ Yea, I said that.’

The police home in on his admission to being in the Marriot hotel and ask him why he was there and what were his intention of being there.

below shows an audio interview of the 20th April, 2009 with the Craigslist killer and the Boston detectives.

After that interview the police could not hold Markoff long enough with only the car incident alone they needed an eye witness.

This causes them to make a few phone calls in order to get a hold of Leffler they gave her a photo array including Markoff med school Id photo.

Leffler then I quote says ‘ That’s him    That’s him’ and from her voice she seems a little shaken. The police then tell her that she has made an identification. She then explains how she knows it him describing his features and how they were the exact same. She made the identification with 100% certainty that Markoff was the man who robbed her at gun point.

This then lead to the police getting a search warrant for both Markoff apartment and car. Within the car they discover zip ties and black leather gloves. Furthermore Markoff apartment also show clues, they found an overwhelming amount of evidence. They found duct tape, even more zip ties they then found a semi automatic pistol in a hollow out book of grey’s anatomy.


They then later discovered that pistol was the murder weapon for Julissa Brisman. They also recover 45 $100 bills and find many disposable cell phones and the IP address evidence coming from his laptop. They also find women underwear stuff in a sock hidden inside the box spring of his bed as much as he didn’t assault the women it was seen as sex crime since he took the women panties and kept as a trophy and the profiler believes that this would allow Markoff to relive this sexual fantasy in his mind.

The police start to home in on the identify of the Craigslist killer and they ask around Markoff friends telling them he was serious about poker and an over achiever but awkward around women.  There was once incident where on night on campus Markoff pushed one of his female friends against a wall and kissed her forcefully and she could remove in and was then help by a random male student who came by and remove him from her.

Another friend from medical school describe him as having extreme mood swings, this to the forensic profiler shows there was early signs of the man being troubled.

His partner however paint’s a very different picture of the man all together and when shown the hard evidence against him she refuses to believe it. He was properly arrest also on the 20th of April.

Facing overwhelming evidence Markoff tries to commit suicide three times. On August 15th, 2010 one day after what would’ve been his first wedding anniversary. Markoff attempts suicide for the forth time he process to slit his main arteries in his wrist and ankles and neck before stuffing tissues down his throat so he can’t be brought back. However before he dies he writes his wife and a pet name in blood on his cell wall.

With Markoff suicide it leave detective and the victims families with many un answered questions.








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