The Craigslist Killer

April 21, 2009 1:57:36 PM PDT
Either police have made a boneheaded mistake and arrested the wrong man, or Philip Markoff led quite a super secret double life. His fiance says he "could not hurt a fly." Maybe not, but prosecutors in Boston believe he did plenty of hurt to Julissa Brisman of New York City.

Markoff, a 22-year-old medical student at Boston University, is now accused of bashing the masseuse in the head and then shooting her through the heart when she struggled against him.

The two reportedly met after Markoff answered a Craigslist ad for Brisman's exotic services.

On the surface, Markoff would seem an unlikely suspect. He's in medical school, he's engaged to be married this summer, his friends say he's smart - the type who seemed like he "would have it all," according to one neighbor.

Markoff wouldn't be the first person to live a double life; just the latest. There are reports he had gambling debts - and that's the reason he stole money from his victims he met over the Internet.

We'll have the latest on the case tonight at 11. Jeff Pegues is in Boston for us.

Also at 11, the torture debate continues. And clearly there's big disagreement within the Obama Administration about whether or not to prosecute former Bush officials who advocated torture and committed atrocities.

Until now, and even after the horrifying White House/CIA torture memos were released last week, Pres. Obama's people insisted that they wanted to look forward; prosecuting former officials would be looking backward.

Now, apparently, a change of heart by the president himself.

And former Vice President Dick Cheney has now injected himself in the middle of the debate -- demanding that formerly classified information be declassified to, in his words, prove that torture worked.

So far, no government official or department has received the request Cheney said he made.

Stayed tuned.

Speaking of Mr. Obama, the new president apparently wanting to take action in the Middle East in his first three months in office - and not waiting until his last three months like his predecessor. There's a wire story that just crossed saying the president is inviting Palestinian, Israeli and Egyptian leaders to the White House for separate meetings.

There's another report that is absolutely fascinating, having to do with the Twitter-type world where we all live. A new scientific study now says that fast-paced news bulletins, like on those cable television networks, and quick bits of information on social networking sites are all simply too fast for the human brain's "moral compass" to process, and, in fact, could harm young people's emotional development.

I've used Twitter - and I am not a fan, except for those times when a quick response is the only way to get information out.

Two political stories of note:

The first is that we'll have the results of the Bronx Borough President special election, to replace Adolfo Carrion, who is now working for President Obama.

The second comes by way of Iowa, and guess who's making news? Former New York Gov. George Pataki, that's who. In a not-so-subtle appearance, Pataki tomorrow will deliver in Iowa a blistering criticism of President Obama's first 100 days in office.

"I think it's time that those of us who have been silent for a while stand up and point out what I think have been just some horrendous mistakes on the part of the new administration in Washington."

Should be fascinating to hear. I don't recall the former governor saying anything critical about the horrendous mistakes of the previous eight years.

I'm just sayin'.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Jessica Taff (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.