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"Craigslist Killer" Philip Markoff: Written in Blood

"Craigslist Killer" Philip Markoff: Written in Blood
Alleged Craigslist Killer Philip Markoff and victim Julissa Brisman (AP/CBS) CBS

NEW YORK (CBS) As if Philip Markoff, known as the "Craigslist Killer," had apparently not done enough to ruin the life of Megan McAllister, his ex-fiancee now comes word that his final act before killing himself in his cell this past weekend was to write Megan's name in blood on the wall of his cell. He also reportedly created a shrine of sorts by placing her photographs around his cell.

The whole macabre scene played out on the weekend when the couple - had they married as intended - would have celebrated their first wedding anniversary.

So now the question is - what message was Markoff trying to send and why?

There is some disagreement among professionals about what Markoff meant by his final actions. Casey Jordan, a lawyer and criminologist, believes that Markoff was actually doing Megan a favor by killing himself rather than putting her through a long and embarrassing trial at which she would have been required to testify.

"You've heard of cruel to be kind?" said Jordan. "That's what he was doing. He believed it was a kind thing he did. It makes sense that he wrote her name and put up her photographs because she was the last thing he was thinking of."

"He was filled with regret for his actions. I don't think he ever stopped loving Megan, and he was horrified by what he had done to her," Jordan said. "The last act of suicide was the Philip Markoff that everybody knew, the medical student who knew how to slash his arteries. He did it in a very complete way. This was not a cry for attention. He didn't have any reason to live any longer."

A different view comes from Lynne Schwartz, PhD., a forensic psychologist practicing in New York State. She emphasized that she has had no direct contact with Markoff but says that the methods he employed show that he was thinking more about himself than Megan. "If you want to say goodbye to someone you write a note and leave it in your cell," she told CBS News.

But rather than express his feelings in a private way, Markoff chose to reintroduce Megan's name into his sordid life. "It all felt very hostile to me," Schwartz said. "She's being dragged through the blood in a sense by this. She's trying to get on with her life and he feels like he's the one who's been betrayed. It's all about him."

"He didn't say, 'I'm sorry, you were the most important person in my life. I beg your forgiveness.' Think about it: who communicates in blood?"

Megan, of Little Silver, N.J., was to wed Markoff on August 14, 2009, four months after he began his seven-day crime spree. Markoff, at the time a second-year medical student at Boston University, targeted women from the erotic services section of Craigslist. It is believed he killed Julissa Brisman, shooting her three times after striking her in the head with the butt of his gun, and that he robbed and attempted to rob two other women who were not harmed.

When police caught up with Markoff, Megan was in the car with him. He was arrested and she was released. Although she initially stood by him, she eventually broke off their engagement.

Since then, Megan has been attending medical school in the Caribbean. Her name had faded from the headlines, but Markoff's 11th hour actions have dragged her back into the story.

"When you genuinely care about someone as a person and you have their best interest at heart - which is what love is all about - you write a private message to her," Schwartz said. "He could have said 'I'm sorry.' Doing it this way is not about love to me."

The story of "Craigslist Killer" Philip Markoff will be featured on 48 Hours | Mystery, tonight at 8 p.m.

Watch The Full 48 Hours Investigation, "Classified For Murder?"

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