Craigslist suspect wrote ex-fiancee's name in cell

August 17, 2010 5:14:42 PM PDT
A former medical student accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist scrawled the name of his former fiancee on the wall of his cell - apparently in blood - before committing suicide, authorities said Tuesday.

The name "Megan" and the word "pocket" were found written above the door in Philip Markoff's cell at the Nashua Street Jail in Boston after he was discovered unresponsive Sunday morning, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said. Investigators were still trying to determine the meaning of the word "pocket."

Markoff - whose fiancee, Megan McAllister, broke up with him shortly after his arrest last year - used a pen and a sharp piece of metal to fashion a "primitive scalpel" and used it to inflict several wounds in his neck, arms, wrists and ankles, striking his veins and his carotid artery, and then covered his head and feet with plastic bags that were available to inmates, Conley said.

Preliminary autopsy results show the air loss and blood loss combined to kill him, Conley said.

"At this point we can definitively say he's responsible for taking his own life," he said.

While Markoff's death robbed the family of Julissa Brisman, of New York City, of the chance for justice because Markoff won't go to trial, Conley said the suicide was "the ultimate indicator of consciousness of guilt."

"He won't be tried, but he's far from an innocent man," Conley said, adding authorities would someday outline for the public the "overwhelming" evidence they had gathered against him.

Surveillance video shows Markoff, 24, was alone in his cell when he turned out the light at 1:59 a.m. on Sunday, the day after what would have been his first wedding anniversary, and was discovered dead eight hours later. He said no one entered Markoff's cell during that interval.

Toxicology tests were still being conducted to determine if Markoff took any drugs and whether they contributed to his death.

The results were expected to take several weeks.

Conley said he does not know why Markoff was not on a suicide watch, but authorities are considering that question as part of their investigation.

"It is too early to for me to say what could have and might have been done differently," he said. "We are looking at what was done and perhaps what was not done here."

He said surveillance video at the jail does not extend inside the cells but covers hallways. He said he was unsure of whether guards typically wake up inmates during routine observances.

"I don't know that it's the duty and obligation of guards to wake up people to see if they are OK," he said.

Markoff was taken into custody during a traffic stop as he and McAllister were driving to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut last year six days after Brisman's death. Authorities say he had lured Brisman to a hotel and botched a robbery to support a gambling habit.

Authorities also had charged Markoff in the armed robbery of a Las Vegas woman and the assault of a stripper inside a Rhode Island hotel.

McAllister, who met Markoff in 2005 while volunteering at a medical center, ended their relationship and canceled plans for an Aug. 14 beachfront wedding in New Jersey after visiting him in jail soon after his arrest. She said around that time in a statement issued through Ocean Township, N.J., attorney Robert A. Honecker Jr. that she intended to fully cooperate with Markoff's attorney and the Suffolk County district attorney's office as they investigated.

Conley said Markoff's body should soon be released to his family for burial.


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