Another Reason the Internet is the Worst: The Craigslist Killer

The Story of the real “Craigslist Killer”

The Internet is a scary place, and I’m here to remind you of that.

Meet Philip Markoff

Philip Markoff was your average all American guy. Born on February 12, 1986 in Sherrill, NY, to Susan Haynes and Richard Markoff. Most of his time growing up was spent with his mother, his step-father Gary Carroll, his older brother John, and his younger half sister Haley. Neighbors recalled often seeing Philip shooting a basketball in the driveway of their blue sided two story colonial home. His mother and step-father ended their marriage in 2004, but in his high school year book, he listed them both as his parents with no mention of his real father. Markoff graduated in 2004 from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, where he was a member of the golf and bowling teams, the Youth Court, the History Club, and the National Honors Society. (This dude definitely rocked a pair of salmon shorts and boat shoes on the weekends.) Former teachers have said that it was clear from a young age that Markoff was a bright child. He loved Math and Science, and was able to read very early.

“I just remember him being a bright boy.” – Terry Law, Philip Markoff’s first grade teacher at E.A McAllister Elementary School.


Markoff received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the State University of New York, University at Albany. It was here that he met fellow pre-med student, Megan McAllister. She was a senior and he was a sophomore, and they met while both volunteering at a nearby medical center emergency room. They began dating in 2005, and became engaged three years later. They had planned to marry in Long Branch, New Jersey, on August 14, 2009. But Philip Markoff had other plans.


April 20th, 2009

Markoff was arrested during a traffic stop just south of Boston.


According to police reports, the happy couple was en route to a local casino with a few thousand dollars in cash. His fiancé was unaware that he had already been under police surveillance for several days, being accused of armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder.

Here’s why :

April 10th, 2009

In an exclusive interview with 48 hours, Trisha Leffler says she is lucky to be alive. Leffler met Markoff after he responded to a personal add on Craigslist where she was reportedly advertising “erotic services”.

“We went into the room and as soon as I closed the door, he was standing behind me. And when I turned around, that’s when he pulled the gun. I was a little nervous and immediately started shaking. My heart started beating fast. And he told me to lay down.”


“He said if you be quiet, no harm will come to you. He put on black leather gloves and asked where my money was. He opened up my purse and immediately went after the money and put it in his pocket.”

Markoff left with 800$ in cash, and Trisha Leffler’s credit cards. Before leaving, picked up her cell phone and erased his number from her call log. He then tied her to the bathroom door, cut the telephone lines and taped her mouth shut. After he left, Leffler was able to twist free of her restraints, run to a neighbors place, and call the police.

April 14th, 2009

On the 20th floor of the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel, Markoff brutally murdered 25 year old Julissa Brisman. Brisman had posted an add on Craigslist, advertising herself as an “erotic masseuse” – and unfortunately, Markoff answered her add. However, he was not showing up with the intentions of receiving this “erotic massage”, he was there to rob her. Markoff entered the hotel room and immediately drew his gun, ordering Brisman to the floor. Brisman put up a fight, and during the struggle Markoff hit her in the head, and shot her three times. One of the bullets struck her heart, but she was still alive when authorities reached the scene.

Julissa Brisman passed hours later at Boston Medical Center.


Hotel security footage stills taken minutes after the witness had called gave police a target, a possible suspect. A tall blonde male with an oddly calm demeanor was seen exiting the hotel just after the crime was committed.

“He looked like somebody who had just stepped out of the hotel bar where he’d been watching a game and downing a beer,” says Cramer. “He didn’t look like somebody who had committed murder or bound a woman and gagged her and robbed her of her money.” – Maria Cramer, crime reporter for The Boston Globe.

Police quickly learned of a third assault at another hotel around this time in nearby Warwick, R.I. In surveillance pictures from this hotel, it appears to be the same man that was seen in the Boston hotel surveillance footage.


Police soon caught a break when a friend of Brisman came forward with access to Brisman’s email account. In her account police would find messages exchanged between Brisman and Markoff, in regards to setting up their appointment for her “erotic masseuse” services. With this information they were able to track an IP address, leading them to an apartment building in Quincy, just outside of Boston. With an address, a description of the suspect from a surviving victim, and photos from the hotel surveillance- they began their stakeout.

April 19th, 2009

Just five days after Brisman’s murder, police get their first look at Markoff. He was with his college sweetheart fiancé, headed out with a suitcase. Police worried that they may have been fleeing, so they began following the couple.

“One sergeant basically called the investigators, after watching him all day, and said, ‘I like him. I like him a lot,'” – Maria Cramer

April 20th, 2009

Trisha Leffler positively identifies Markoff – and during the previously mentioned traffic stop, the couple is confronted. Police then issued a search warrant for his vehicle, and the suspect calmly agreed to go downtown while asking for a lawyer. The police inform McAllister that her fiancé is being arrested for murder. Markoff, (then 23 years young) was taken into custody and arrested for the murder of Julissa Brisman. Some evidence against Markoff included a match to the gun found in his Quincy apartment, and a positive finger print match to prints found at the scene of the attack in Rhode Island.

April 21st, 2009

Markoff was arraigned and charged with Brisman’s murder. He was ordered to be held without bail.

According to his lawyer, he was innocent.

In the days immediately following his arrest, Markoff’s fiancé fiercely defended his innocence. Yet a few days later upon visiting him in jail, she continued to break off their engagement. Markoff’s first attempted suicide occurred shortly after this break up, when he tried to slash his wrists with a serrated spoon.


His fiancé later would explain during a 70-minute police interview that the couple was living off student loans. She said that as a student, Markoff could not work and she was unemployed. Giving some insight as to why a seemingly well off medical student went to such desperate lengths of robbery when his reported gambling hobby wasn’t holding up.


August 15th, 2009

24 year old Philip Markoff successfully took his own life on what would have been his one year wedding anniversary to a woman he didn’t even marry… because he was a drama queen.

The former medical student evidently used a prison issue pen which he had shaved into a razor to slash major arteries in his ankles, legs and neck. He then wrote his fiancés name on his cell wall in his own blood, next to a shrine of photos of her, before continuing to strategically wrap his wounds in plastic. He then covered his head with a plastic bag and stuffed toilet paper down his own throat so that jail authorities could not resuscitate him. He then covered himself head-to-toe with a blanket, and died like the coward he was.

At least he learned something useful in med school.

Moral of the story :

Craigslist has always been, and always will be – super 👏🏻 fucking 👏🏻 sketch.

If this normie with the same reputation and look as most of the preppy douchebags I went to high school with is capable of this crime, anyone could be.


It is truly sad how often we hear of similar situations involving Craigslist or dating apps. Please, do not judge a book by its cover, do not trust people you do not know. Do not drive to a strangers house to buy their shitty Ikea Craigslist couch without a friend (or a weapon). Do not meet strange men or women on Tinder without dropping a location pin to a friend. I don’t care how desperate for money or love or sex you might be, or how cute that artsy boy you just right swiped was, or how cute that little blonde chick you just superliked is. I assure you, with the small chance that you might get murdered in the back of your mind upon going to meet a stranger… you will think twice. (Unless you’re into that)

Happy scrolling / swiping…
Don’t get murdered.


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