1. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The craigslist killer

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Cogito, Apr 22, 2009.

    On April 14, police found a 26-year old woman in a high end hotel room, bound with cable ties, beaten, and shot three times. She died of her wounds. A couple days previous, another woman was similarly bound in another nearby top end hotel. She had been robbed but not severely injured. Another similar robbery occurred a couple days later in a Warwick, Rhode Island hotel. All three women had advertised "sensual massage" services through craigslist.com.

    In all three cases, hotel surveillance video cameras captured images of a clean cut young man leaving the premises around the time of the crimes. All three appeared to be the same man.

    Monday night, police arrested Philip Markoff, a 22 year old medical student at Boston University. He seemed the least likely kind of person to commit violent crimes. He was well liked by his classmates, was doing well in school, and is engaged to be married in August.

    They traced him through his Internet acrtivity, including an email account he used for making contact with his victims on craigslist, and the physical desccriptions from the videos and from identification provided by the surviving victims. In his apartment, they found a semiautomatic pistol hidden within a hollowed out book, cable ties like those used to bind the victims, undergarments and other souvenirs taken from the victims. His fingerprints were found at the crime scenes. Ballistic tests on the gun are currently underway.

    When captured, he was en route to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, where he has become a regular customer. Investigatrors speculat the the motive for the attacks was to steal money to support his gambling habit.

    He has been charged with murder, robbery, and kidnapping, and other charges may be pending.

    This is the kicker:

    He is pleading innocent, and his defense attorney is confident that he will be cleared of all charges...
     
  2. grnidone
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    grnidone Member

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    Don't they all say that though? I mean, really, if you're a criminal defense attorney, you have to think like that and act like that otherwise you get no business.

    Those crimes are horrific. One reason prostitution should be legalized: the women who make that career choice would be a lot safer.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Agreed. The point was that the evidence, even what the authorities are making public, makes it pretty much a lock, making the confident claims of innocece uproarious.

    The victims and their activities that put them at risk are not an invitation to debate prostitution!
     
  4. The Freshmaker
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    The Freshmaker <insert obscure pop culture reference> Contributor

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    Apparently he's engaged? In an interview, his fiance said that the wedding is still scheduled, and that she doesn't believe he would hurt a fly.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I guess mo flies were harmed in the commission of these crimes then.
     
  6. grnidone
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    grnidone Member

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    Ah. Sorry. That was *meant* to be an off hand comment, not an invitation to debate. Apparently I just can't get it right here.

    Does that make it "Strike Two" Cognito?

    *LOL!*
     
  7. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like all investigations and prosecutions, why don't we just let the guy have his day in court? The "evidence" made public so far certainly sounds damning but I will always agree with the notion of innocent until proved guilty. After proper trial, if he is proved to be the murderer, then I would be the first to call for severe penalty. And, until then, the public is protected by taking the suspect off the street.

    As far as the attorney, any statement other than that made would be malpractice. He/she's just doing a good job.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, he can only work with what's on his plate.

    In this case though...

    In the immortal words of Hudge Harry Stone of Night Court:
    "I like to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out."
     
  9. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    But when is a woman *Really* classed as a prostitute? If consent was given...










    JUST KIDDING.

    Lmao, I bet I made your blood boil for the length of that sentence :p
     
  10. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Early in my marriage, I joked to my wife that "all women are prostitutes . . . only the cost of admission varies". Boy, that was the WRONG thing to say! Her coffee mug broke the sound barrier as it passed my head and shattered on the wall. Learned my lesson.

    Sorry Cog for getting off track. Here's an interesting question. Let's say two people are engaged in an illegal activity and a third crime is committed. Prostitution is equally illegal for both the prostitute and the customer. Does the fact that both were equally guilty of breaking the law in the first place have any mitigating influence on the third crime. For example, two people are engaged in the act of sado-masochistic prostitution with mutual consent and one party gets too rough, resulting in injury. Would/should the offending party get the same sentence as for an aggravated assault against an unsuspecting person? The end result is the same. One party beat up another and it is no longer within the scope of mutual consent. Yet, I'll bet the person who got too rough during the prostitution episode gets off with far less punishment.

    How does that apply to this case? The public information would seem to indicate something akin to premeditated murder. Yet, it begins with a crime of mutual consent. It would be fairly easy to "prove" the perp had intention to take the mutual consent to a one-sided criminal act of armed robbery...based solely on the fact that he brought a gun to the party. But??? How did the robbery go wrong? Did she resist his attempt to rob her and end up fighting for the gun? She was shot three times, but the police don't say where...hmmm? Is it possible that she received two nonlethal flesh wounds while wrestling for the weapon before it "went off", firing a bullet through her heart? She might even have pulled the trigger. There is a very big difference between manslaughter, second degree murder and first degree murder with special circumstances. And, does the fact that she was also in the commission of a "crime" influence the jury's deliberation? By the way, he also had two other occasions where he could have murdered and did not, so he's not a serial killer, although he might be a serial robber or even a sex addict.

    Just thinking out loud about this case.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The premeditation would apply to kidnapping and armed robbery. He selected victims who were unlikely to inform otyers of where tha=ey would be abnd what they were doing, would probably have large amounts of cash, and would probably not be inclined to prosecute.

    It appears the second victim fought back, and he killed her for it. And yet, on the video surveillance images when he was leaving the premises, he did not look at all distraught or nervous. This seems to be someone with so little value for life that a robbery that turned into a murder did not shake him at all.

    The police have asked anyone else who has been a victim of this person to come forward as well, and promised they will not prosecute them for prostitution. Their interest is solely in putting the perpetrator away for good, in the interest of public safety.
     
  12. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does Massachusetts have the death penalty?

    edit: never mind. Just looked it up. No death penalty and no three strikes law.
     
  13. Piestein
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    Piestein Senior Member

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    Technically, there are only two 100% provable crimes: some degree of murder (with or without intent) at least and robbery. Without the robbery, I might add, he might've fully gotten away with it.

    It might be a case of rough-gone-bad. I know, I know that I might be totally wrong and this might be a psychopath, but I'm thinking hypothetical and from the advocate's PoV. It looks odd that he isn't shocked, though.

    This means 2 to maybe 3 things, but the 3rd is rather improbable.

    Starting from the least probable:

    a) the murderer is a 3rd person.

    b) He didn't leave immediately. The times are unknown to me so far, but he could've fallen asleep after everything, incl. the murder and when he woke up, he could've had a relatively clear idea of what to do.

    c) He's killed before. That's what the police are investigating at the moment, I guess, because if this is his first kill, no matter what, he should be somehow emotionally moved.Even excietd, if he's psycho, but such a first needs emotional back up. I think c) is the key point on which the defense might build up. Also, just rough sex and minor robbery, for which he'll have to lie in jail; because honestly, I can't think of a way to get around this -- he did it three consecutive times, after all...

    Just some thoughts in 1:30 am ofc, could be completely wrong.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, no death penalty in Massachusetts, and the victim in Rhode Island was not killed.
    There could still be federal charges, though. There is an interstate component to his crime spree. I don't know what might happen on that front.
     
  15. apathykills
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    apathykills Contributing Member

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    that's what they said about o.j, he got off.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yeah, and all men are johns... only their willingness to pay for services rendered varies!
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Which made California justice a long running bitter joke, and brought the issue of jury nullifcation to unprecedented public awareness. I sincerely doubt that kind of travesty will take place in this case.

    The O.J. jury refused to try the case. Instead they tried the Los Angeles police department.
     
  18. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Obviously, I have no first hand experience with murder, but when a soldier kills his first enemy in combat the impact on the soldier is wildly varying. Some guys become quiet and introspective for a few days after. Others become excited, almost frenetic, engaging in heavy drinking and other distractions. A few are completely "normal" and you can't tell if the killing meant anything to them at all. (Snipers are this way. They even keep a diary with kill stats like most people would keep an expense log.) These guys don't need, or want, to talk about it. Like any diary, it's just personal.

    There is also a carefully nurtured attitude often beginning in advanced military training that dehumanized the enemy. Derogatory terms like "gook", "raghead" or "terrorist" serve to objectify the enemy so that killing is perceived about the same way as shooting silhouette targets. Long before pulling that trigger for the first time on a live "target", the soldier has been conditioned to prevent any hesitation or distraction that killing a "real person" might evoke.

    From my personal experiences in war, I am not at all surprised by this guy's calm outward demeanor, especially if he conditioned himself prior to the act against such reaction. Your point assumes an average person murdered, but ordinary people don't engage in such activity.
     
  19. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    A) This whole scenario reminds me of some Law and Order:SVU program. --Come to think of it, do you think they'll model a show off of this?

    B) It is so creepy what they can do with computers these days. :eek:

    C)
    Now he just seems stupid. Duh!

    Although, I am curious. How did they pinpoint him just from his image? Did he have any prior criminal records that ID'd his face in the system or something, or what? Detective work is mindboggling, though so very interesting, to me.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    He has no prior criminal record. Area news stations displayed images from the security cameras and asked anyone with information to contect the police tip line. Meanwhile, the police tracked the Internet activity associated with the crime and also used more traditionla investigative tools (which they did not go into much detail about)

    They should have ballistics test results on the gun within the next couple days. The hollowed out book it was concealed in was his Grey's Anatomy textbook. I find it interesting tat a medical student would destroy such an important reference book for his studies for such a purpose.

    I also wonder if the "souvenirs" (undergarments etc) they found pointed to any yet-unknown victims besides the first two victims. The third attack was interrupted by te victims husband, so he may not have had the opportunity to collect trophies in that case.

    The gun and other incriminating items were retrieved from the Quncy, Massachusetts apartment he shared with his fiancee. There may have been an additional thrill factor in hiding all that from her in their shared home.

    Forensic psychologists have noted that it is not unusual behavior for a serial predator. Such people derive satisfaction with the belief that they can get away with their activities right under everyone's noses.

    In terms of background, a woman has come forward to allege a violent encounter with Markoff after a college party. It probably will not lead to an additional charge, but it's part of a developing picture of misogynistic behavior.

    From a writing point of view, this is a pretty fascinating case. It's easy to dismiss this guy as being stupid, but the compulsions that might explain some of his actions give interesting insights into (apparently) a very disturbed mind.

    And it's all real.
     
  21. Piestein
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    Piestein Senior Member

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    Okay, so let's say he prepared for killing. Why didn't he kill all of his targets then? I mean, if you've prepared for one unknown prostitute, you're probably ready for the other as well, unless it has specific looks that reminded him of someone important. In that case though, 2 out of 3 would die. Only 1 has. It just doesn't fit. And it's not the first, nor the last; it's the second.

    Then again, maybe I'm looking at it in the wrong way. My parents are doctors and my sister follows medicine, so it was only natural that I (even though I won't follow their steps) would go to her uni to check out some of her practice lessons on human real arms and legs. I didn't regard them as human, I regarded them as objects to be studied. My sister said she doesn't regard potential patients as humans either, she needs to be objective about them after all. And I didn't really have any training, nor did she.

    Anyway, it would seem I managed to contradict myself, so let's try and think about other than emotion facts.

    I skip the disturbed mind simply because I can't debate on that. Deranged really ends the topic. Although proof points to that -- the party incident. I think that rather leads to deranged. No offense, but at parties alcohol does make women more ... err... open to others. Kind of closer to the victims. Maybe he has some sort of derangement concerning that behaviour?

    Anyway, let's pretend he isn't insane. Why the 2nd one was the only dead? And the real question -- Would the third one be dead if her husband hadn't prevented it?

    Did he carry a gun in the third case as well? And did he carry it on the first one? I might've missed the info, that's why I'm asking.

    I hope all of this has some logic into it...
     
  22. becca
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    becca New Member Contributor

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    There is also the possiblity of his Fiance knowing what he was doing, and would enter the room after he left and commit the acts fo violence. i.e. Killing the woman. Maybe she didn't know about the others? After all she said that he wouldn't hurt a fly...but what about her. She shared the residence, and had access to the gun. Did they check both of them for GSR? Do they know for sure who fired the gun?

    Granted, in light of his past acts of violence, noted college party interaction, that he could be the killer, or he could just like rough sex.

    It will be interesting to see where it might go.
     
  23. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    whether the murder was intentional or not, he is already showing a pattern of violence towards human beings - and if that's not a warning sign, i don't know what is. if he was comfortable repeating this type of vioence i honestly believe it wouldn't be long before he'd take another step, pushing the boundries further and further as his comfort level expanded with it all... guess what i'm saying is, even if the murder wasn't intentional, i think there's a fair chance it would be on the cards in the future if he's already beating and binding ppl.
     
  24. grnidone
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    grnidone Member

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    It is surprising to me, in this day and age, that the press is allowed to see so much information about any crime.

    One has to wonder how anyone can get a fair trial in a case like this.

    I am reminded of Richard Jewell who was accused of setting a bomb the Summer Olympics in Atlanta some years back. He was a security officer who turned out to be innocent, but the whole media storm took a huge toll on his personal and professional life.
     
  25. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know about the Richard Jewell situation in terms of how much info the media had early on, but the fact that in this case they have those images from the surveillance cameras, plus emails linking him up with the women. That's pretty damaging evidence right there.

    The guy's psychological profile, though. That's what is interesting to me. These serial killers seem to always be quiet, unsociable types. But this guy had a lot of friends who didn't see anything in his behavior that would indicate he could do such awful things.
     

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