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Medical school link echoes '01 case

Another would-be doctor from BU faced murder trial

Left, alleged 'Craigslist killer' Philip Markoff during his arraignment. Right, Daniel Mason, convicted killer of Michael Lenz, during his 2001 trial in Suffolk Superior Court. (Mark Garfinkel/Getty Images, AP Photo) Left, alleged "Craigslist killer" Philip Markoff during his arraignment. Right, Daniel Mason, convicted killer of Michael Lenz, during his 2001 trial in Suffolk Superior Court.
By Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff / April 23, 2009

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Philip Markoff, the accused Craigslist killer, is not the first Boston University medical student to achieve criminal notoriety in recent history.

In the dark of night in 2001 Daniel Mason, a fourth-year medical student, shot and killed a man execution-style, critically wounded another, and shot their dog while they slept in their Jamaica Plain home. The crime was so gruesome that it nearly brought prosecutors to tears when they described the scene in court hearings.

The crime shocked the Boston University community, which was troubled to learn that one of its doctors-in-the-making was accused of such brutality.

Mason's case differs in motive from that of Markoff, but both involve guns and what prosecutors called a brazen disregard for law and for life.

Then 35 years old, Mason, from Worcester, was only two months from graduating when he shot a man who had sued him over a previous altercation. The man, Gene Yazgur, was awarded a judgment of $118,000 after Mason almost took his ear off in a fight over a parking dispute.

But Mason, who had served as a sniper in the Israeli army and told friends he was trained as an assassin, promised Yazgur he would never pay, saying, "You won't see a penny of that money."

The day after Mason received a notice warning him to pay, he shot Yazgur in his home six times.

He also shot and killed Yazgur's roommate, 25-year-old Michael Lenz, a University of Massachusetts graduate student who wanted to publish poetry. And he killed their dog, Sampson.

Days later, Mason was arrested at Boston Medical Center, where he was training as a doctor, wearing green scrubs and a white laboratory coat.

He was convicted of murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

Milton Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.com.

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