Police Say Accused Craigslist Killer Owed Gambling Debts

Philip Markoff allegedly hit Conn. casino after killing, source tells ABC News.

ByABC News via logo
April 20, 2009, 5:10 PM

April 21, 2009 — -- Philip Markoff, the accused "Craigslist killer" currently being held in Boston on murder charges, gambled all night at the Foxwoods Casino two days after he allegedly killed Julissa Brisman at an upscale Boston hotel, leaving with $5,300 in winnings, a source with knowledge of the investigation told ABC News.

He also gambled at the Connecticut casino two days after he allegedly attacked another woman at the Westin Hotel in Boston, said the source, who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity. Prosecutors claim he stole $800 out of the woman's wallet before he bound her, duct-taped her mouth shut and then used plastic flexi-cuffs to tie her to a doorknob.

Markoff, a 22-year-old medical student, pleaded not guilty today to robbery, kidnapping and murder charges and was ordered held without bail.

A police source close to the investigation told ABC News this week that police believe Markoff's motive in the alleged crimes was to pay off gambling debts. Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, speaking to reporters today after Markoff's brief court hearing, would not comment on the gambling allegations, but said authorities believe robbery was the motive for the crimes.

Markoff opened an account at the Foxwoods casino in 2008, but his visits to the casino increased "in March and April," leading the Cheryl, N.Y., native to apply for a credit line in early April, a source with knowledge of the investigation said.

"He went to Foxwoods frequently, including visits on April 2, 12, and 16,'' the source told ABC News. "On the 16th he left with $5,300 in winnings.''

Markoff also used his hometown New York address at 803 Cheryl Rd. and the Quincy, Mass., apartment he shared with his fiancée to apply for a credit line. The highest single bet Markoff made was $1,000, the source said.

"He came once in 2008, but then he was here all the time starting in March,'' the source said.

Police say the clean-cut 22-year-old robbed two women he solicited through personal ads on Craigslist.

Prosecutors said today that Markoff bound and robbed a woman at the Westin Hotel on April 10. In a separate April 14 attack, prosecutors claim Markoff tried to rob 26-year-old Brisman at the Boston Mariott Copley Place Hotel, but hit her over the head and then shot her in the heart when she resisted.

"This is a brutal, vicious, savage attack. This suspect showed he was willing to take advantage of women," said Conley, adding that there was a "strong possibility he has done this before."

During a search of Markoff's house, police found a semi-automatic weapon, plastic ties and duct tape, Conley said.

He added that there is a "strong possibility" that Markoff has attacked other women and asked other potential victims to come forward.

Authorities said they followed cell phone and computer records to Markoff, linking an e-mail account used to set up appointments on Craigslist with the two women who were attacked to his address in Quincy, Mass.