Synopsis: Compressed into a seven-day time span, the story of the Craigslist Killer just kept unfolding: three vulnerable women, each cornered in a hotel room, one of them murdered when she resisted. Who would be next? The images of the suspect are jarring: an all-American handsome young man who could be the guy next door, clean-cut and casually dressed.
Using high-tech investigative tools and old-fashioned shoe leather, detectives from the Boston Police Department track down their man and arrest the unlikeliest of suspects: twenty-three-year-old Philip Markoff, a brilliant, well-regarded medical student at Boston University who is engaged to be married on the beach at sunset to a beautiful and trusting fiancée.
If guilty, what is his motivation? Why did he allegedly use Craigslist, the online bulletin board, to pick out his victims? The arrest of Markoff, a man with no criminal record, seems incomprehensible, but the evidence against him seems overwhelming. Police match his gun and fingerprints to the crimes, and use a trail of digital bread crumbs to lead to Markoff’s doorstep.
When Manhattan model and masseuse Julissa Brisman agreed to meet a client at the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel, she thought it would be just one more day on her road to recovering from an alcohol addiction. Instead, she was discovered lying facedown in a pool of blood on a hallway carpet, her head battered, a bullet through her heart. The hotel’s surveillance cameras captured the image of a tall, blond, clean-cut man, texting on his BlackBerry.
As police moved in, pieces of an astonishing puzzle emerged: investigators revealed that the Boston University medical student was linked to several incidents across the Northeast, all involving women with whom he connected on Craigslist—including the armed robbery of a prostitute at another Boston hotel, and the assault of an exotic dancer in Rhode Island. The Craigslist Killer was arrested by Boston police barely a week after Julissa Brisman’s murder. As the public tried to understand why someone with everything to live for would be so reckless, the double life of Philip Markoff began to materialize, and he appeared to be an out-of-control thrill seeker hiding a secret sexual life.
With the in-depth analysis that distinguishes TV’s 48 Hours Mystery, this penetrating profile of Markoff and his crimes goes well beyond newspaper headlines to reveal how a young man described as “a beautiful person inside and out” hid his dark obsessions from the world—and how the Internet can make any one of us the next victim of the most unlikely killer.