Philip Markoff, the alleged Craigslist killer, used a primitive scalpel fashioned from a pen and a sharp piece of metal to inflict numerous wounds on himself and, at the same time, smothered himself with a large plastic bag around his neck, to commit suicide in his Boston jail cell, the Suffolk County district attorney said today.
The measures taken by Markoff, a former Boston University Medical School student, led to air loss and blood loss that "combined to cause his death" on Sunday morning, said District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.
Conley said surveillance camera footage showed that Markoff was alone in his cell and turned out the light at 1:59 a.m. Sunday and no one had entered his cell until he was discovered some eight hours later.
A corrections officer found Markoff unresponsive at 10:06 a.m. Staff administered CPR and emergency personnel responded quickly, but Markoff was pronounced dead at 10:17 a.m., Conley said.
"I think we can definitively say he was responsible for taking his own life," Conley said.
Conley said Markoff had cut himself on the neck, arms, wrists, and ankles, severing several veins and his carotid artery. He said officials were still awaiting the results of toxicology tests on Markoff's body to see if there were any medications in his bloodstreawm.
Markoff had pulled his covers over his head after inflicting the injuries, one law enforcement official said.
Conley confirmed that Markoff had scrawled the word "Megan," the name of his one-time fiancee, above his jail cell door. But he said it wouldn't be clear until laboratory tests were complete whether Markoff had written the name in his own blood.
Conley also confirmed that Markoff had written the word "pocket" on the wall. But the prosecutor could shed no light on the mystery of why Markoff had written that word. "That's all a matter of our ongoing investigation," Conley said.
Markoff, 24, was awaiting trial on charges of killing a 25-year-old New York masseuse in a Back Bay hotel. He allegedly arranged a rendezvous on April 14, 2009 with Julissa Brisman after seeing her ad on Craigslist.
Police said Markoff intended to rob her, but when Brisman fought back, he allegedly hit her over the head with a 9mm handgun and shot her three times, once in the heart. The case set off a national firestorm over the advertising for erotic services on Craigslist.
Markoff also faced charges in another robbery of a woman in Boston and in a third case in Warwick, R.I. In the second and third cases, the women had also advertised erotic services on the popular Craigslist site.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who appeared with Conley and other officials at a news conference this afternoon, said, "It's tragic that the Brisman family does not have closure on this issue."
Conley said the evidence against Markoff was "overwhelming in quantity and substance."
"He won't be tried but he's far from an innocent man," he said.
“With Philip Markoff’s final actions, the Brisman family has been deprived of an opportunity to hear a verdict rendered, to see justice pronounced, and even the chance to tell the court and Mr. Markoff – face to face – what Julissa meant to them and the immeasurable pain and loss he inflicted upon them. These are important moments for victims of this type of violence ... I ask you all to keep Julissa Brisman and her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers," Conley said.
Markoff's attorney, John Salsberg, didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.
Maria Cramer and Jonathan Saltzman of the Globe staff and correspondents Sydney Lupkin and Alex Katz contributed to this report.
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