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Craigslist Killer Case: Hollowing out "Gray's Anatomy"

(CBS/Sarah Prior)
Photo: Hand Gun Inside a Hollowed Out Copy of Gray's Anatomy.

Sarah Prior, a 48 Hours | Mystery producer, shares her unusual experience in her research for "Seven Days of Rage: The Craigslist Killer."

When we decided to demonstrate what it would look like to keep a gun inside a hollowed out copy of "Gray's Anatomy" for "48 Hours Mystery," the job fell to me. Before I came to "48 Hours," I worked at The Center for Book Arts, and I knew from the artists I met there that the best tool for cutting paper is actually a scalpel. I found a scalpel and bought a copy of "Gray's Anatomy" for $200.

Scalpel in hand, book in front of me, I paused. I was raised by an English professor, who instilled in me a near-holy regard for books. And "Gray's Anatomy" is an incredibly beautiful book. The illustrations are detailed, in full color, and exquisite.

But we needed the book cut, so I started cutting. Mostly I was concerned with the logistics of cutting. How much of an edge to leave. How to pull pages out without ripping them, not overcutting. It's surprisingly difficult and time-consuming job.

I took me over four hours to cut through the 700+ pages needed to fit a 9mm gun - which is what the police report they found. It was an incredibly tedious job. There must be easier ways to hide a gun in an obscure corner, than to spend hours cutting up a book.

Photo: Philip Markoff.

And as I was cutting, I started to notice something.

On almost every page of "Gray's Anatomy" is a picture of a body part.

And as I was knifing through the book, I was knifing through these body parts. It was an oddly violent act.

I wondered what went through the mind of the killer who was hollowing out an anatomy book to hide a REAL gun, especially if it was Philip Markoff, someone who studied medicine.

Was he thinking of cutting up bodies? Of what it might be like to shoot someone? The idea haunted me.

September 18, 2009 - Book 'Em: Seven Days of Rage - The Deadly Crime Spree of the Craigslist Killer
September 17, 2009 - New Book Says Alleged Craigslist Killer Had Bondage and S&M Fantasies