Conflicting pictures of Philip Markoff, the so-called Craigslist killer, have started to appear as reporters talk to anyone - and everyone - who ever knew Markoff.
As mentioned yesterday, Markoff has been brought in on charges for the murder of Julissa Brisman, 26 of New York City, who was found in Boston's Copley Marriott Hotel on April 14, unconscious and with multiple gun wounds. ABC reports that Markoff has also been charged with the robbery of Trisha Leffler, who says she was bound and robbed at the Westin Hotel in Boston on April 10. She claims to have recognized Markoff instantly from the police surveillance photo. Leffler has said that that she only survived the attack because she did not fight Markoff. "I just complied with everything he wanted me to do. I didn't resist him in any way and that's why," she said.
Yesterday, Markoff the Boston Herald depicted Markoff as "a clean-cut Boston University medical student preparing to wed a blond beauty." This morning, the press is telling a slightly different story. The Boston Globe reports that Markoff was supposedly "disturbed," according to a former medical school lab partner. Tiffany Montgomery, 26, says that she is "not even remotely surprised" that Markoff has been charged with such violent crimes. After spending hours in the lab with him every day, Montgomery claims she suspected that he may have been suicidal, and even considered alerting school counselors. "He just wasn't right in the head, and I knew it, and probably other people did, too," she said. She cites his drastic mood swings as evidence that Markoff was mentally ill:
"One day, he'd be warm and friendly and smiling," said Montgomery, who now works as a biotech consultant in Boston. "And the next day you'd see him and the clouds had rolled in. And you'd say to yourself, 'This is the 50 percent of the week when it's the upset, brooding Phil, and not the smiling happy Phil.' "
The Boston Herald recently reported that before Markoff became the medical student "on the fast track to achieving the American dream," with a "blond bombshell fiancee" on his arm, he was a "nerdy high school bully." A former classmate, who sat next to him in 9th grade Spanish class, recalls that Markoff was cruel to her on a daily basis.
"He had this hatred for people he thought were beneath him," said Caitlin, a 23-year-old high school classmate who asked that her last name be withheld. "He saw me as beneath him and he needed to degrade me. I think he had a complex."
She goes on to say that although Markoff was often the subject of bulling himself, she still hated him:
"He was just a bully," she said. "He would get picked on, but I never felt sorry for him because he was mean. He had this arrogance that he was better than you."
Others, including Markoff's former neighbors, his first grade teacher, and parents of high school friends, all claim that Markoff was a kind, intelligent boy, if maybe a little withdrawn. Many have also mentioned Markoff's allege gambling problem, which may have begun as early as high school. Police suspect that gambling debts may have sparked Markoff's spree of robberies. ABC reports that after both attacks, Markoff hit the casinos.
Two days after Brisman was murdered, the police source said Markoff hit the casino again, leaving with casino with $5,300 in his pocket.
Markoff is also being looked at in a third attack, this one also a robbery, in a Rhode Island Holiday Inn Express where, again, a woman was tied up after placing an advertisement on Craigslist for massage services.
Prosecutors say Markoff was headed to the casino when they finally caught up with him on Monday. A search of his Quincy, Mass., apartment, they said, turned up a semi-automatic weapon along with ammunition, plastic zip ties and duct tape.
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley says that he is in the process of posting an ad on Craigslist, in hopes of finding more of Markoff's victims. "In light of the fact that at least two victims have been attacked after placing ads on Craigslist, it seems a natural place to seek additional victims," said a spokesman for Conley. Conley has said that there is a "strong possibility he has done this before." "This is a brutal, vicious, savage attack. This suspect showed he was willing to take advantage of women," he said.
Update: Markoff's fiancee Megan McAllister has emailed People to defend Markoff:
"Philip has not been convicted," McAllister wrote in an email to PEOPLE. "A policeman who wished to make money off this story sold it to countless companies. Philip is a beautiful man inside and out and did not commit this crime. Unfortunately, somebody else did and needs to be penalized. Philip was set up and you are wrong to be asking me for stories."
Alleged 'Craigslist Killer' recalled as nice, smart boy [Boston Globe]
Accused Craigslist killer was a nerdy high school 'bully' [Boston Herald]
Behind 'perfect' life, a darker side [Boston Globe]
Police Say Accused Craigslist Killer Owed Gambling Debts [ABC]
Victim of Accused Craigslist Killer Says She Survived By Not Fighting Back [ABC]
District Attorney Using Craigslist To Find More Victims [Boston Herald]