Julissa Brisman: Victim of the Craigslist Killer

Hector Brisman and Paula Eckberg look on during Markoff arraignment
Hector Brisman and Paula Eckberg look on during Markoff arraignment. Pool/Getty Images

On April 14, 2009, Julissa Brisman, 25, was meeting a man named "Andy" who had answered a "masseuse" ad that she had placed in the Exotic Services section of Craigslist. The two had emailed back and forth to arrange the time and agreed on 10 p.m. that night.

Julissa had an arrangement with her friend, Beth Salomonis. It was a security system of sorts. When someone would call the number Julissa had listed on Craigslist, Beth would answer the call. She would then text Julissa that he was on the way. Julissa would then text Beth back when the man left.

At around 9:45 p.m. "Andy" called and Beth told him to go to Julissa's room at 10 p.m. She sent a text to Julissa, with a reminder to text her when it was over, but she never heard back from her friend.

From Robbery to Murder of Julissa Brisman

At 10:10 p.m. the police were called to the Marriott Copley Place hotel in Boston after hotel guests heard screams coming from a hotel room. The hotel security found Julissa Brisman in her underwear, lying in the doorway of her hotel room. She was covered in blood with a plastic zip-tie around one wrist.

EMS rushed her to Boston Medical Center, but she died within minutes of her arrival.

At the same time, the investigators were looking at hotel surveillance photos. One showed a young, tall, blond man wearing a cap on an escalator at 10:06 p.m. The man looked familiar. One of the detectives recognized him as the same man who Trisha Leffler had identified as her attacker just four days earlier. Only this time his victim was beaten and shot to death.

The medical examiner said Julissa Brisman had suffered a fractured skull in multiple places from being hit with a gun. She was shot three times—one shot to her chest, one to her stomach and one into her heart. She had bruises and welts on her wrists. She had also managed to scratch her attacker. The skin under her nails would provide the DNA of her killer.

Beth called Marriott security early the next morning. She had not been able to get in touch with Julissa. Her call was routed to the police and she received the details of what had happened. She hoped by providing the investigators with "Andy's" email address and his cell phone information that it would be of some help.

As it turned out, the email address proved to be the most valuable clue to the investigation.

The Craigslist Killer

Brisman's murder was picked up by the news media and the suspect was dubbed the "Craigslist Killer" (although he is not the only one that has been given this moniker). By the end of the day following the murder, several news organizations were aggressively reporting on the murder along with copies of the surveillance photos that the police had provided.

Two days later the suspect emerged again. This time he attacked Cynthia Melton in a hotel room in Rhode Island, but he was interrupted by the victim's husband. Fortunately, he did not use the gun that he had pointed at the couple. He opted to run instead.

Clues left behind at each attack led the Boston detectives to the arrest of 22-year-old Philip Markoff. He was in his second year of medical school, engaged and he had never been arrested.

Markoff was charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder. Those close to Markoff knew the police had made a mistake and arrested the wrong man. However, over 100 pieces of evidence had turned up, all pointing to Markoff as the right man.


Before there was a chance for a jury to decide on who was right, Markoff took his own life in his cell at Boston's Nashua Street Jail. The "Craigslist Killer" case ended abruptly and without the victims or their loved ones feeling like justice had been served.

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Your Citation
Montaldo, Charles. "Julissa Brisman: Victim of the Craigslist Killer." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/julissa-brisman-craigslist-killer-victim-970976. Montaldo, Charles. (2021, February 16). Julissa Brisman: Victim of the Craigslist Killer. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/julissa-brisman-craigslist-killer-victim-970976 Montaldo, Charles. "Julissa Brisman: Victim of the Craigslist Killer." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/julissa-brisman-craigslist-killer-victim-970976 (accessed June 4, 2023).