'Craigslist Killer' Appears in Court, Shouts 'Not Guilty'

Philip Markoff sees his family as well as family of murder victim.

June 22, 2009, 11:33 AM

BOSTON June 22, 2009 — -- Accused "Craigslist Killer" Philip Markoff shouted out a not guilty plea today to first-degree murder in a Massachusetts' courtroom.

Markoff, 23, also pleaded not guilty to the armed robbery of another woman as well as kidnapping and weapons charges.

The former medical student, who showed up to court freshly shaved, with a new haircut and wearing a crisp, white button down shirt, is known as the "Craigslist Killer" for allegedly finding his victims on the popular Craigslists online classified ads site.

When asked how he pleads, Markoff in a loud and confident voice yelled out his innocence with a loud, "Not guilty."

Asked by the court if he waived the reading of the indictment Markoff responded, "Yes."

The indictment, originally handed down on Thursday, accused Markoff of the April 14 shooting of Julissa Brisman, 25, at the Boston Marriot Copley Place Hotel.

Brisman was a masseuse who had advertised in the "erotic services" section of the online bulletin board.

Markoff is also charged with the April 10 armed robbery of 29-year-old Las Vegas woman named Trisha Leffler in another Boston hotel.

He is being held without bail at the Nashua Street Jail.

Markoff never made eye contact with his parents, Richard Markoff and Susan Haynes, who were sitting in the packed courtroom just a few rows behind him in the courtroom.

As the charges against his son were read, Richard Markoff rocked back and forth in his seat. Haynes twitched her hands nervously in her lap.

Markoff's brother, Jonathan Markoff, was also in court alongside his wife, Deanna, whom he held hands with throughout the arraignment.

Asked by ABC News whether he still believed in his son's innocence, Richard Markoff nodded yes.

Victim Julissa Brisman's mother, Carmen Guzman, cried as Markoff made his pleas.

Brisman's sister bowed her head and began to cry audibly when prosectors read the details of the attack during which they said Brisman was "hit on the head before shot at point blank range three times."

Suffolk County Prosecutor Edmond Zabin described to the courtroom "three violent assaults against three female victims."

Zabin said that Markoff had used the ID of a man from upstate New York by the name of Andrew Miller to purchase the 9mm gun he later used to kill Brisman.

According to Zabin, Markoff drove to Mason, N.H., in February to purchase the gun when his fiance, Megan McAllister, was away for the weekend. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco an Firearms traced the murder weapon to the New Hampshire shop and found Markoff's prints on the purchasing document, prosecutors said.

Those prints also matched those found at the scene of Brisman's killing, the DA said in court.

Andrew Miller is cooperating with the investigation, said Zabin, who did not comment on how Markoff and Miller knew each other.

Lawyer for "Craigslist Killer" Says Jury Pool Poisoned

It is unclear whether Markoff will appear in court again Tuesday when there will be another pre-trial hearing to argue motions by the defense attorneys.

Defense Attorney John Salsberg said that he will argue that "the jury pool has been poisoned."

Salsberg said that he has presented the district attorney's office with a list of questions regarding media leaks.

According to the indictment, evidence suggest that Markoff and Brisman struggled in the hotel room she had rented, and he hit her in the head several times with the butt of the 9mm semiautomatic pistol.

Zabin said that Markoff drew the gun, ordered the victim to the floor, forced her to her stomach and bound her arms with plastic ties. Markoff allegedly donned leather gloves during the attack and disabled Brisman's cell phone.

He then allegedly shot Brisman three times in the chest and stomach from close range, killing her almost instantly, according to the indictment.

Brisman was found by authorities with one flex-cuff restraint on her wrist and bruising on her other wrist. Zabin said that surveillence video of Markoff shows that he wore the same outfit -- a baseball cap and a button down t-shirt -- on April 10 and 14.

Police identified Markoff as the suspect by tracking the e-mails that were sent to Brisman to set up the meeting, according to a statement released by the prosecutor.

They used the Internet protocol address for the e-mail account to determine the physical adress from which the e-mails were sent, and when they staked out the location, saw a person who matched the description they had of the alleged assailant. That person turned out to be Markoff, the statement said.

When they learned he was a student at Boston University's medical school, investigators contacted university police to get a copy of his school identification photograph. When they showed that photo to the Las Vegas woman who had been robbed, she identified him as the man who had attacked her, according to the district attorney's statement.

"Craigslist Killer" Allegedly Hid Evidence Under Bed

Markoff allegedly used disposable Tracfones to contact the women. Calls can be made on the phones without the cellular company being able to identify who made them.

At the time of his arrest, which was made as he and his fiance drove to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut on paril 20, Markoff had the same Tracfone used to call Leffler, the woman he allegedly attacked on April 10, with him.

Before his arrest in connection to the murder and robbery, Markoff had been a second-year medical student at Boston University.

In late April, a law enforcement source told ABC News that police found 16 pairs of women's panties in the Markoff's home. Four pairs of these panties were found inside rolled up socks that were hidden in the box spring of Markoff's bed that he shared with his fiancee McAllister in his Quincy, Mass., home.

McAllister and Markoff had planned to wed in a lavish August ceremony, an event that has since been called off, according to sources.

Authorities said that extra ammunition was also found at the scene.

McAllister had stuck by Markoff from the beginning, starting with her e-mail to ABC News shortly after his arrest saying her fiance "could not hurt a fly."

Along with the panties was a large bag with roughly 60 pairs of plastic flex-cuff restraints, the law enforcement source said.

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 April 14. Brisman had rented a room at the upscale Boston Copley Marriott from Monday, April 13, through Wednesday, April 15, to offer $200 massages "with hand relief."

Around the time of his April arrest, Markoff told his parents, brother and sister-in-law during a jailhouse visit to "move to California and forget about him,'' a law enforcement source told ABC News.

Guzman, Brisman's mother, wrote a statement that was read by a family spokesperson at the end of the arraignment.

"Julissa inspired family and friend, the loss to us is immeasurable," said the statement. "We are overhwlemed and devastated by the loss of our Julissa. She was a college student who would have graudated for counseling in May she had a good spirit and a dedication to helping others. We ask for privacy and compassion."

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley told Guzman in Spanish, "We will do everything we can for you."