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Philip Markoff, Alleged "Craigslist Killer," Found Dead in Cell after Apparent Suicide

Philip Markoff, Alleged "Craigslist Killer," Found Dead in Cell after Apparent Suicide
Philip Markoff (CBS)

BOSTON (CBS/WBZ/AP) Philip Markoff, the Boston University medical student suspected of being the "Craigslist killer" has been found dead in his jail cell after an "apparent suicide."

Ed Geary, Deputy Director of External Affairs at the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office in Massachusetts told CBS News that Markoff was pronounced dead by medics at 10:17 a.m. on Sunday.

Sources tell CBS affiliate WBZ that the former Boston University medical student cut an artery in his leg and bled to death. The Boston Globe reports he was also found with a plastic bag over his head.

A statement released by Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said the suspect "was alone in his cell and all evidence collected thus far indicates that he took his own life."

Markoff was being held at the Nashua Street Jail in Boston.

Markoff was accused of killing Julissa Brisman, a woman who advertised masseuse services in the exotic services section of the Craigslist website.

Prosecutors said Markoff, an upstate New York native, lured Brisman to the Marriott Copley Place hotel in Boston on April 14, 2009 after reading her ad. She was found bound and shot to death in her hotel room.

Brisman's family now will not have a chance to confront Markoff in court. He had pleaded not guilty, and was scheduled to stand trial in March 2011.

The attorney for the Brisman family released a statement, saying, "The family of Julissa Brisman is shocked and dismayed by the news of Philip Markoff's suicide. The long-awaited criminal prosecution was their only opportunity to confront him, and now he has taken that away as well."

Markoff was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 95 in Walpole, south of Boston. He was also charged with the robbery of another woman who advertised her services on Craigslist.

John Salsberg, who was Markoff's lawyer, said he was shocked and saddened about his client's death. He would not comment further.

Markoff's arrest came days after his image was shown on surveillance video at the hotels. Davis said that authorities had him under observation for days before making the arrest.

Shortly after his arrest, Markoff was put on suicide watch after shoelace marks were found on his neck, according to WBZ.

At the time, Salsberg said Markoff was having difficulty transitioning "from being free to being incarcerated."

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