- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BOSTON (AP) | A medical student accused of targeting women who advertised exotic services on Craigslist was ordered held without bail Tuesday on charges that he sought to rob a masseuse but bashed her in the head and shot her through the heart when she fought back.

Philip Markoff, 23, a second-year medical student at Boston University, said nothing during a brief appearance Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court, where he was ordered held on charges including murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.

“Philip Markoff is not guilty of the charges. He has his family’s support,” defense attorney John Salsberg said.

Prosecutors said they traced an e-mail address used to set up an appointment with masseuse Julissa Brisman of New York City to Mr. Markoff, who was on his way to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut with his fiancee when he was arrested Monday afternoon.

Miss Brisman was found dead April 14 in a Boston luxury hotel. Mr. Markoff is also charged with robbing and tying up another woman who advertised massages on Craigslist, on April 10.

The slain woman’s father, Hector Brisman, was in court but left without commenting.

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said authorities searching Mr. Markoff’s home in Quincy, about 10 miles south of Boston, found a semiautomatic weapon, restraints and duct tape, evidence he called “critical, powerful.”

“This was a brutal, vicious crime — savage, and it shows Philip Markoff is a man who is willing to take advantage of women, to hurt them, to beat them, to rob them,” Mr. Conley said. “He probably thought he was going to get away with it. He thought he was too smart for us.”

Prosecutor Jennifer Hickman said in court that Miss Brisman had been hit on the head and shot three times at close range, including once through the heart. She said Mr. Markoff and Miss Brisman had been in contact by cell phone and on the Internet to set up an appointment.

Mr. Conley said he thinks Mr. Markoff’s original motive was robbery.

“It’s hard for me to get into his mind. The evidence that we have is Julissa put up a pretty tough struggle, and it’s in the context of that struggle that she lost her life,” he said.

Miss Hickman said Mr. Markoff and the woman he is suspected of robbing April 10 also initiated contact on Craigslist and set up a meeting after midnight. The woman told investigators she met Mr. Markoff and then let him into her room at the Westin. When she shut the door and turned around, he was pointing a gun at her stomach. He bound her hands and mouth.

Miss Hickman said Mr. Markoff went through Miss Brisman’s wallet and purse and took more than $800 and other personal items.

Mr. Markoff’s fiancee, Megan McAllister, said police have the wrong man. “He could not hurt a fly,” she said in an e-mail to ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“All I have to say is Philip is a beautiful person, inside and out.”

Authorities have said there could be more victims.

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