- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BOSTON (AP) | A former Boston medical student pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he lured a masseuse he met through Craigslist to a Boston hotel, then bound her, beat her and fatally shot her with a gun, which authorities say he later stashed in a hollowed-out medical textbook.

Philip Markoff firmly stated “not guilty” when asked how he would plead to the seven charges including kidnapping, armed robbery and weapons violations, then stared straight ahead as prosecutors outlined their case during a brief arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court.

Mr. Markoff is charged in the April 14 shooting of Julissa Brisman, 25, of New York City, and the April 10 armed robbery of Trisha Leffler, a 29-year-old Las Vegas prostitute, at another posh Boston hotel. Authorities said he used anonymous e-mail addresses and prepaid cell phones to set up meetings with the women whom he met through Craigslist, where they had advertised in its “erotic services” category.

Prosecutors said Mr. Markoff left a trail linking him to the attacks including his fingerprints on the ties purportedly used to bind the women. They said he used someone else’s ID - a New York man’s license - in February at a gun shop in Mason, N.H., to buy the 9 mm weapon that killed Miss Brisman.

Assistant District Attorney Edmond Zabin said the gun used to kill her was found in a hollowed-out copy of Gray’s Anatomy in the Quincy apartment Mr. Markoff shared with his then-fiancee, Megan McAllister. Miss McAllister has since called off plans for their August wedding in New Jersey.

They also said Mr. Markoff was seen on surveillance video coming and going from the Boston hotels around the times of the attacks.

Miss Brisman’s mother, Carmen Guzman, listened in court through a Spanish-speaking translator to how her petite daughter reportedly fought against the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Mr. Markoff, then was found dead in the entrance of her hotel room with three gunshot wounds to her torso. The family left without answering questions from reporters but issued a statement saying they were “overwhelmed and devastated” by her death.

Prosecutors have not revealed a motive for the attacks. Mr. Markoff was arrested April 20 on Interstate 95 while driving with his fiancee to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.

Mr. Markoff’s attorney, John Salsberg, tried unsuccessfully to persuade Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson not to allow prosecutors to recite the evidence against Mr. Markoff, saying it was unnecessary because Mr. Markoff was not fighting for bail and that reciting the evidence against him would only serve to “poison” the potential jury pool for a future trial.

Mr. Markoff was ordered held without bail.

Magistrate Wilson set a tentative trial date for June 2010. Meanwhile, a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday into whether the grand jury was exposed to leaked information from the media and whether that played into the decision to indict Mr. Markoff.


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