BOSTON, April 29, 2009 -- Police found 16 pairs of women's panties in the home of Philip Markoff, the Boston University Medical student charged with the murder of a sex worker who was shot dead in an upscale hotel room, a law enforcement source told ABC News today.
The panties were hidden under Markoff's bed in the Quincy home he shared with his fiancee. Along with the panties was a large bag with roughly 60 pairs of plastic flex-cuff restraints, the law enforcement source said.
Markoff has been charged with allegedly contacting two women through the Web site Craigslist, and luring them to upscale hotels, where police say he bound their hands with plastic cuffs and robbed them. Markoff is also accused of killing one of the women, Julissa Brisman, after she resisted. He has pleaded not guilty.
The panties and restraints were found along with duct tape next to a hollowed-out copy of "Gray's Anatomy" that hid the semi-automatic weapon police believe was used to shoot Brisman, 26, of New York City April 14. Brisman had rented a room at the tony Boston Copley Marriott from Monday April 13 through Wednesday April 15 to offer $200 massages "with hand relief."
Markoff, who has been dubbed the "Craigslist Killer," is charged with bashing Brisman's head in around 10:10 p.m. Tuesday night and shooting her three times at point-blank range.
He is currently in the psychiatric unit of Nashua Street jail, where he is monitored around-the-clock after he attempted to strangle himself with shoelaces and tried to slice his wrists with a spoon he sharpened to a point using concrete in his cell, a law enforcement source said.
Last week, he told his parents, brother and sister-in-law during a jailhouse visit to "move to California and forget about him,'' another law enforcement source told ABC News.
"He said that there was a lot more to come out,'' the source said. "He has spent all of his time now sleeping and staring out the window at the news trucks."
Boston Police officials would not comment today on the number of panties found when homicide investigators executed a search warrant of Markoff's apartment after his arrest. Markoff was on his way to Foxwoods casino with his fiancee Megan McAllister when he was arrested April 20.
Markoff is next due in court May 21. He's accused of killing Brisman in the Boston hotel and of binding and robbing another woman in a nearby hotel days earlier. Police sources also told ABC News that it appears Brisman may have slipped free of the plastic ties used to restrain her before she was shot three times at close range.
Earlier this week, Markoff's fiancee, Megan McAllister, broke her silence to say she would continue to stand by her man.
Through her new attorney, Robert Honecker Jr., McAllister released a statement in which she thanked friends and family for their support and expressed sympathy for "all of those afflicted by these events."
"I also love my fiance, and I will continue to support him throughout this legal process," she said.
McAllister added that she did not recognize the man she had seen in the media reports about Brisman's murder and the alleged attacks and robberies of two others, one in Boston and one in Warwick, R.I.
"What has been portrayed and leaked to the media is not the Philip Markoff that I know," she said in the statement. "To me and my family, he is a loving and caring person, and in the eyes of the law and the Constitution, he is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
"I just can only hope that the criminal justice system will not be overwhelmed and persuaded by what is being put forth in the media. My fiance's fate should not rest in the court of public opinion, but rather in a court of law."
McAllister said she would cooperate with Markoff's attorney "as well as the Suffolk County district attorney's office as they both continue their investigation."
"I can only tell them what I know and what is the truth," she said in the statement. "I will expect that these discussions will occur within the next several days."
The statement Monday was McAllister's first comment on the case since she sent an e-mail to "Good Morning America" last week saying Markoff "could not hurt a fly" and that he is "a beautiful person, inside and out."
'Craigslist Killing' Suspect Taken Off Suicide Watch
Markoff has been taken off a jailhouse suicide watch, but he is described as "extremely withdrawn," law enforcement sources told ABC News on Monday.
Markoff was assigned to a suicide watch shortly after his arrest last week in connection with the murder of Brisman. Correction officers put Markoff on a suicide watch after becoming alarmed when they found shoelace marks on his neck.
Markoff was removed from the around-the-clock surveillance, although a source told ABC News, "He is extremely withdrawn." Markoff is still wearing the paper clothing that he was given when put on a suicide watch.
The suspect broke down during a weekend visit with his family, telling his brother to "forget about [him]" and that "there's more coming out," ABC News has confirmed.
"It is unclear if he meant more victims or more evidence," a law enforcement official familiar with the visit told ABC News.
ABC News has also obtained court documents in which Markoff, a medical student, pleads poverty. The documents claim that he has not received any financial support from his family for several years and that he is living off student loans that total $130,000.
In response, the court ordered Markoff's lawyer, John Salsberg, to defend him at the public's expense, the court documents state.
The emotional family visit Friday, first reported by the Boston Herald, was the first time the 23-year-old's family had seen Markoff since his arrest in connection with the murder of Brisman, a 26-year-old massage therapist.
One of the alleged victims, Las Vegas masseuse Trisha Leffler told CBS "48 Hours" Saturday she survived an attack by Markoff and that after he tied her up and took her money, he stopped to take a memento.
"He picked up a pair of my underwear that were on the floor and put them in his pocket," Leffler said. Last week, investigators found panties belonging to two of the alleged victims in Markoff's apartment.
Though Markoff's attorney, John Salsberg, said Markoff's family remains "very supportive of him," McAllister has yet to visit him in jail, and a bandmember who was scheduled to play at the couple's August wedding said the gig was canceled.
"The McAllister family contacted me late Friday evening and basically told me the wedding was off," Will Forte of the B Street Band said.
McAllister was not the only one coming to the former medical student's defense.
Sunday, ABC News received a statement from a close friend who said Markoff has been unfairly labeled "a murderer and a menace to society" by the media. The friend declined to be identified, at the request of Markoff's family.
In the statement, the friend said Markoff had endured what amounts to "a public lynching of an individual who, in reality, has few character flaws," but Markoff's family and friends are "keeping hope of an unbiased trial."
Craigslist Killing Victim Sent E-Mail to Clients
ABC News has obtained an e-mail that was sent to Brisman's regular clients. The e-mail has been entered into evidence in the case against Markoff, who is accused of killing her after he responded to her ad on Craigslist.
Brisman, 26, of New York City, had booked a hotel room in Boston for Sunday through Wednesday night, April 12-15, according to one of those regular clients who booked frequently with Mary Beth Simons, the New York owner of a tanning salon who once shared an apartment with Brisman.
Simons is cooperating with police and helped provide the link that led Boston Police Department homicide investigators to Markoff's Quincy home after he used his real name and address to set up an e-mail account a day before Brisman was shot three times at point-blank range and had her head bashed in, several law enforcement sources said.
The e-mail obtained by ABC News reads:
"Hi! My girlfriend Morgan, the massage therapist will be visiting Boston Monday 4/13 (available from 1pm until 11pm); Tues 4/14 from 7am-11pm; and Wed 4/15 from 7am- 12noon checkout!) She visits only once every 1-2 months so dont miss her! Her pics are real, recent, and attached to this message. She is visiting just these couple of days and I highly recommend her! If you would like to schedule, PLEASE E-MAIL back SEVERAL TIME PREFERENCES that work for you during Morgan's window of availability and I will do my best to accommodate you. Be sure to INCLUDE YOUR PHONE NUMBER; I do not give out a contact number until you have provided yours! Kisses XOXO Morgan & Mary."
It went on to say: "PS -- The rate is $200/hr for sensual massage inclusive of hand stress relief. Other sensual extras available and discussed in person at the time of the massage (for reasons of discretion). Incall only, not full service. PPS -- we are not currently advertising or accepting new clients... so please e-mail and notify me personally before reffering [sic] a friend to e-mail!"
Bullet Casings, Restraining Ties Said to Link Markoff to Craigslist Attacks
The gun found inside Markoff's apartment is a forensic match to casings on bullets used to shoot and kill Brisman, ABC News has learned.
In addition, investigators said the plastic restraining ties used in an attack at a Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, R.I. -- on a woman who had advertised "erotic services" -- exactly match plastic ties found in Markoff's apartment.
Warwick Police Chief Col. Steve McCartney told ABC News last week that the woman who was robbed in the Holiday Inn Express was reluctant to cooperate with the investigation.