More developments in the Craigslist Killer case this morning. Police say suspect Philip Markoff's gun and fingerprints link him to the crimes, and yesterday, he apparently tried to hang himself with his shoelaces.
Several law enforcement officials told The Boston Globe that a preliminary match has been made between the semi-automatic handgun police found in Philip Markoff's apartment and the weapon used to kill Julissa Brisman last week. Officers also said that fingerprints matching Markoff's were found on the plastic restraints and duct tape left at a crime scene, but it wasn't clear what case they were referring to.
A fingerprint matching Markoff's was found at the Rhode Island hotel where an exotic dancer was robbed at gunpoint last week, according to The New York Times.
Correctional officers say they noticed "shoelace marks" around Markoff's neck yesterday, leading them to believe that he tried to kill himself, reports The New York Daily News. He was moved to a segregated unit at Boston's Nashua Street Jail and placed on suicide watch. Another source said Markoff is wearing a special restraining suit to keep him from harming himself.
Yesterday Jim McAllister, father of Markoff's fiancée Megan McAllister, spoke to reporters. According to The Boston Herald:
The father of the bride said Megan McAllister has read all the news reports about the evidence.
"How could you not?" Jim McAllister said. But he said her faith is strong. "She's still confident in Phil. Other than that, we're saying a lot of prayers."
Speaking to reporters outside the family's home in Little Silver, N.J., McAllister briefly addressed how his daughter was holding up.
"As expected, not well," he said in a soft voice, according to video footage of the interview. "She's still confident in Phil. Other than that, we are saying a lot of prayers."
Asked whether his daughter had any idea about Markoff's alleged double life, Jim McAllister shook his head. "Absolutely not," he said, before walking away from the microphones, according to video footage.
Megan McAllister wrote and sent another email to the press. People reports:
"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."
A friend of Markoff's has started a Facebook page titled, "Phil Markoff is Innocent Until Proven Guilty." The purpose: to "Rally against the media who is quick to place blame, against the culture that has forgotten that people like Phil are suspects, not killers." As of this morning it had 199 members.
A Boston radio station aired an interview with a Cape Cod woman who said she sat next to Markoff at a blackjack table at Foxwoods casino on April 16, two days after he allegedly killed Julissa Brisman and the same day he's suspected of robbing a woman in Rhode Island. People reports:
The Cape Cod woman said Markoff spent about $600 and hardly said a word, bringing down the upbeat mood at the table. His behavior was so odd, she told the radio station, that she mentioned him to her friends after he left. When she saw his picture in a newspaper after his arrest, she said to herself, 'Oh my God, it's him."
Markoff's former Boston University School of Medicine lab partner, Tiffany B. Montgomery, told The Boston Globe that he experienced mood swings and depression to the point that she considered telling school counselors that he might be suicidal. She said she is "not even remotely surprised" that he has been charged with murder. The Globe reports:
"He just wasn't right in the head, and I knew it, and probably other people did, too," said Montgomery, 26, who spent hours with him each day in the lab.
"My friends from the lab group have confirmed that 'you weren't the only one feeling that way,' " she said. "I got the impression he was really disturbed."
Montgomery, who dropped out of medical school last February because of financial problems, said Markoff's mood swings alarmed her.
"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.' "
There are more calls for Craigslist to take down its "erotic services" category, or police the site more. "It is clear that Craigslist is the new frontier," Mark Lagon, executive director of the anti-trafficking group the Polaris Project told the Associated Press. "Ultimately, the 'erotic services' section must be shut down," Lagon said, explaining that a study last year found Craigslist was the site used most frequently by johns seeking prostitutes. Last month in Illinois, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart sued the site, claiming that it has actively created, "the largest source of prostitution in America."
Prosecutors posted an ad in Craigslist "erotic services" section yesterday in an attempt to find other women who may have been victimized by Markoff. According to CBS News:
"Were you attacked or robbed at a Boston-area hotel after placing an ad on Craigslist?" the ad asked. "If so, you may have information that could aid the investigation into the April 10 armed robbery of a woman at the Westin Copley Place Hotel and the April 14 murder of a woman at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel. Both victims were attacked by a prospective client who had contacted them through ads placed on Craigslist."
Sources: Preliminary Tests Link Gun Found At Markoff's Home To Slaying [Boston Globe]
Fingerprint Is Student's, Official Says [New York Times]
Suspected 'Craigslist Killer' Philip Markoff Tried To Hang Himself In Jail Cell, On Suicide Watch [NY Daily News]
Sources: Cops Make Gun Link In Philip Markoff Case [Boston Herald]
Who Is 'Craigslist Killer' Philip Markoff? [People]
"Phil Markoff is Innocent Until Proven Guilty" [Facebook]
Report: Craigslist Murder Suspect On Suicide Watch [People]
Behind 'Perfect Life,' A Darker Side [Boston Globe]
Craigslist Death Renews Calls For Limiting Sex Ads
Investigators Turn To Craigslist For Clues [CBS News]