Authorities say they found evidence linking a 23-year-old medical student to the recent killing of one woman and robbery of another at Boston hotels when they searched his Quincy apartment.
Police say they found items belonging to two of the victims and a handgun while searching Phillip Markoff's Quincy apartment, according to published reports.
Police found underwear from two of the victims and a handgun in a hollowed-out copy of the medical textbook "Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body," the reports said.
Police found “critical and powerful evidence” Monday night when they searched 23-year-old Philip Markoff’s residence at the High Point apartments on Quarry Street in West Quincy, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said Tuesday.
Markoff was arrested Monday and charged with robbing and killing Julisa Brisman, 26, who was shot to death April 14 at the door of her 20th-floor hotel room in the Marriott Copley Place Hotel.
He pleaded innocent at his arraignment Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court and was ordered held without bail by Judge Paul Leary.
Markoff is also accused of kidnapping and robbing a prostitute at the Westin Copley Hotel. The 29-year-old woman from Las Vegas was bound with plastic cord and robbed of a debit card and $800 cash.
Markoff pointed a gun at the woman’s stomach at one point, Conley said.
Both women had advertised massage services on Craigslist, the online classified service.
Police found a semi-automatic handgun, restraints and duct tape in Markoff’s apartment, Conley said at a press conference following the arraignment.
He said that Brisman, of New York City, was struck on the head with a blunt object and shot three times and that she had put up “a pretty tough struggle.”
Brisman’s father, Hector, had been at Markoff’s arraignment, but authorities kept him away from the press. “He is extremely distraught,” Conley said.
“This was a brutal death, Conley said. “It struck chords in the hearts of investigators and prosecutors.”
He said the motive for attacking both women seems to have been robbery,
Authorities did not comment on reports that Markoff might have been seeking money to pay gambling debts.
According to published reports, Markoff and his fiancée were on their way to the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut when he was arrested.
The Associated Press reports that the Connecticut casino confirmed it was cooperating in the investigation.
“We do not release information publicly concerning individual patrons; however, we are aware of this situation and are cooperating with the appropriate law enforcement authorities,” the casino and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation said in a statement to the Associated Press.
Police began watching Markoff after tracing his e-mail address on Brisman’s computer to his Quincy apartment, Conley said.
Markoff opened the e-mail account he used to contact Brisman the day before she was murdered, he said.
“He probably thought he could get away with this; that he was too smart for us,” Conley said. “It’s possible he has done this before to other women.”
Markoff, a second-year medical student at Boston University, has no criminal record, Conley said. According to a personalized wedding Web site, he is engaged to be married in August in New Jersey.
Conley asked that any other alleged victims of Markoff contact police by calling 1-800-494-TIPS.
The Patriot Ledger