Med School Student Charged with Murder

Suspect tied to two other assaults

April 21, 2009
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Holiday Inn Express surveillance photographs published last week on the Boston Police Department’s blog. Photo courtesy of Warwick Police Department

Boston police have arrested Philip H. Markoff, a second-year Boston University School of Medicine student, in connection with the killing of a woman who advertised massage services on Craigslist and was later shot to death at the Marriott Copley Place.

Markoff, 22, who lives in Quincy, is also believed to have attacked a woman who advertised lap dance services on Craigslist last week at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Warwick, R.I. He also is a suspect in an attack two weeks ago at the Westin Hotel in Boston, when a woman was robbed of a debit card, $800 in cash, and $250 in American Express gift cards.

Officer Eddy Chrispin of the Boston Police Media Relations Office says Markoff is being charged with murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping.

Ellen Berlin, director of communications for the School of Medicine, says that Markoff has been suspended from Boston University.

Markoff was arrested for the murder of 26-year-old Julissa Brisman, who was shot to death in her room at the Marriott Copley Place. Brisman’s hands were bound with plastic ties, as was the victim of the Westin robbery. According to the Boston Globe, the victim of the Rhode Island assault told investigators that a clean-cut blond man tied her up with plastic cord and demanded cash. The Globe reports that the woman’s husband entered the room as the assailant was rummaging through her items. At that point, the Globe reports, the attacker pointed a gun at the husband and fled out the door.

In hotel surveillance photographs published last week on the Boston Police Department’s blog, the suspect is seen walking past an elevator wearing a baseball cap and a jacket over an untucked shirt. The surveillance pictures were taken 25 minutes before police responded to the hotel after getting a call about the attack around 11:15 p.m.

Boston police reportedly investigated more than 150 leads before zeroing in on Markoff.

Art Jahnke can be reached at

Anyone who knows Philip Markoff and would like to talk about any aspect of this case, please contact the editor here at BU Today, Seth Rolbein, at

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Med School Student Charged with Murder

  • Art Jahnke

    Senior Contributing Editor

    Art Janke

    Art Jahnke began his career at the Real Paper, a Boston area alternative weekly. He has worked as a writer and editor at Boston Magazine, web editorial director at CXO Media, and executive editor in Marketing & Communications at Boston University, where his work was honored with many awards. Profile

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There are 17 comments on Med School Student Charged with Murder

  1. Since your “coverage” of this story seems to basically be a rewrite of the Boston Globe’s print and online editions, why bother asking BU students to contact an editor/writer at BU Today?

    In the article above, you’ve ripped off several paragraphs from the Globe, pausing briefly to add a lone snippet of info from the B.U. school of med’s public relations office. Why not continue the trend by quoting the sources that Globe reporters have already dug up?

    This is sloppy, lazy work.

  2. I am glad to say BUToday not only gives the pros of our student body, but also the cons. It takes a lot of je ne sais quoi for a large company/college like BU to also talk about the “bad things” that are affiliated to it.


  3. What’s the criteria to get into medical school again? See the lengths students go to pay off the exorbitant tuition rates BU MED charges.

  4. BU suspends a student based on unproven allegations ? Is not Philip innocent until proven guilty ? This is a pretty thoughtless overreaction by the administration – if he is found innocent will they reinstate him ?

  5. I am pleased to see that good coverage was presented on this student. (Virginia Tech allowed very little information on the January beheading at the school.) I’m hoping that BU Today continues to follow this story and that some students who know Philip Markoff might be able to give insight into his personality. Guilty or innocent: These stories are always high-interest.

  6. “rip of the globe again” person: you are a complete dumbass. who actually cares about the quality of this article? i highly doubt that the majority of the students read the boston globe, and bu deserves major props for putting a negative but highly informative article that is readily accessible to all students. people like you need to get off your high horse and not bother commenting on a story unless it is about the actual info inside of it. the rest of us are sick and tired of it.

  7. They suspend him from BU when he is arrested so if it turns out he is not convicted of murder, he doesn’t get penalized for missing classes while in jail, court, etc.

  8. It took Boston Police 25 minutes to respond to a gunshot reporting from a hotel? Are you Kidding me? In that time, had this guy wanted, he could have hurt so many more people in the hotel or elsewhere!

  9. where are the law students? The police had probable cause- a gun, video tapes, computers records. Let’s not forget that a young women lost her life. If he is innocent- I am sure he can return to class- in the meantime- he is where he belongs- keeping society safe.

  10. Seriously? you think this was about paying off student loans?!

    As a MED student, let me helpfully point out that 1) your loans are in deferment while in school, 2) your repayment requirements during residency are minimal at worst and 3) Even if you go into a low paying practice like general pediatrics, Family Medicine or general internal medicine and don’t get into one of the loan repayment/forgiveness programs you’ll still make more than enough to pay off your loans.

    I have no idea what Markoff was planning on doing after graduation, but even if he chose his career with no consideration of his future earning potential, he would have had little trouble satisfying his debt obligations.

    Student loans still sound like a more plausible motive than gambling debts?

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