The man arrested for allegedly targeting women who advertised massage and other exotic services on Craigslist is getting some support - on Facebook anyway.
Supporters of Philip Markoff, 22, of Quincy, Mass., created a Facebook page focused on "rallying against the media" that has been reporting on the case. Dubbed, Phil Markoff is Innocent Until Proven Guilty, the group had 108 members - some of whom are members of the press - as of 5:30 p.m. EDT Thursday.
The page had a lot of comments from various users before 5 p.m. but those comments were removed, along with the ability to leave comments, shortly afterwards. Many of the comments were negative toward Markoff and focused on the evidence against him. Two pictures - one of an electric chair and one of a guillotine - that had been posted on the site also were removed.
Markoff was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on Tuesday. Ordered held without bail, Markoff is charged with murder, armed robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, and kidnapping. The charges, according to the Boston Police Department, are in connection with the April 14 murder of Julissa Brisman at the Copley Marriott Hotel in Boston and the April 10 kidnapping and robbery of another woman at the Westin Hotel, also in Boston.
Markoff, a second-year medical student at Boston University, was taken into custody late Monday afternoon. He is due to make his next appearance in Municipal Court on May 21 for a pretrial conference.
Digital forensics work was a key factor in tracking down the suspect, according to Jake Wark, press secretary for the Suffolk County, Mass., district attorney's office.
Brisman, according to information released by the Boston Police Department, was found at the Copley Marriott after having been shot three times in the abdomen at close range. She also had been repeatedly struck in the head with a blunt object. The woman had been advertising massage services on Craigslist. In what police said they believe to be a robbery, the victim and assailant struggled in the doorway to a hotel room before Brisman was shot. She was pronounced dead at Boston Medical Center.
Police reported that the murder is connected to an April 10 robbery at the Westin Hotel, which is about two-tenths of a mile from the Copley Marriott and connected to the other hotel by a shopping mall. A 29-year-old woman, who had been advertising "sexual services" on Craigslist, was robbed at gunpoint in her hotel room, according to Wark. The woman was bound with restraints and threatened at gunpoint but escaped serious physical harm, he added.
A series of photos (scroll down) were taken by surveillance cameras of a blonde-haired man in both hotels at the time of the incidents.
Wark said police are also investigating whether Markoff can be tied to a similar assault and robbery at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Warwick, R.I.