Alleged 'Craigslist Killer' pleads not guilty
The 23-year old medical student accused of killing a prostitute he met after answering an Internet ad on the popular Craigslist website, pleaded not guilty Monday in a Boston, Massachusetts courtroom.
Philip Markoff, alleged to be the "Craigslist Killer", said at a court hearing that he was not guilty of the murder of prostitute Julissa Brisman, 25, who was fatally shot on April 14 in a Boston hotel room.
Prosecutors said Brisman, whose Craigslist ad offered erotic massages, had been beaten about the head with a firearm before being killed by three gunshots to the chest.
The Craigslist website is a popular online marketplace for everything from babysitting services to used furniture.
Increasingly, however, it has come under scrutiny from authorities who say it is used for illegal sexual activity, as well as by criminals looking for easy access to unwitting victims.
Markoff was expressionless as he entered his plea during the brief hearing, after which he was returned to his prison cell. Court officials said a trial likely will take place in about a year's time.
Markoff's parents, as well as those of the young murder victim, were present in court during Monday's hearing.
Markoff also is a suspect in the case of a 29-year-old woman who advertised on Craigslist as an exotic dancer. She was robbed of a credit card and 800 dollars in cash at a different hotel a few days before Brisman's death.
Craigslist last month dropped its "erotic services" ads following a campaign by law enforcement in the aftermath of Brisman's high-profile murder.
And while other ads on Craigslist generally are free of charge, the company has set the price of 10 dollars per adult services posting.
(c) 2009 AFP