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Does Craigslist Killer Philip Markoff Look Like a Murderer?

Does This Man Look Like a Murderer?

Clean cut blond man. Medical student with a fiancée.

In almost every news story that you read about alleged Craigslist killer, Philip Markoff, who is accused of murdering a masseuse whose ad he answered, there is always some comment about the incongruity between his looks and/or educational background and the murder of 26-year-old Julissa Brisman that he's accused of.

Do these reporters have amnesia about America's most notorious serial killers, like Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy? Last time I checked, each of them looks like the boy next door (albeit with a lot of crazy in the eyes). If Markoff doesn't look like a killer — who does? What is our expectation, rational or not? To read about Markoff and to hear more baffling comments from experts,


New York forensic psychologist Michael Welner told Good Morning America that, although Markoff targeted masseuses (usually a code word on Craigslist for prostitute), the alleged crimes were about money, not sex or power. Um, really? It's stupefying to me that an "expert" could say this. I'm no expert — but I would venture to guess that his alleged crimes were about a combination of all those motivations.

As more details emerge about Markoff — that he has a gambling addiction, and today, that he collected his victims' panties (before Brisman, he roughed up and robbed another masseuse, Trisha Leffler, who was lucky he didn't kill her) — the mystery deepens as to who this man is. But the mystery should not settle around how a clean-cut blond man could commit murder.


Join The Conversation
JessieSP JessieSP 8 years
You clearly cannot judge a book by it's cover. Anyone could be a killer, thief, or commit adultery, even you best friend of 20 years, or your own mother these days. Everyone needs to be aware of who is and is NOT in their inner circle these days. And to completely trust a complete stranger with you belongings or your life, is just far past being a moron. So to answer the question straight out, NO, not all killers look crazy, obviously.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
He definitely doesn't fit my mind's description of a killer but that just goes to show you that stereotypes are crap. Anyone can kill you. Anyone could rape you. It's not always the people that you would expect.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I don't need to "breathe easier." thank you very much. And I don't care if you're white, blue, or purple. Profiling is profiling. Additionally, if you go back and actually read what I said, you will see that I took more issue with you mentioning the fact that he's privileged, which actually doesn't fit the profile of most serial killers. On top of that, sadly, I was not shocked in the least by your statment. Attitudes like yours are so prevalent in this country that they no longer surprise me in the least. Lastly, if you were to read the article on not just comment on the headline, you would see that the whole purpose of the article is to question all of the people who are saying that he doesn't look like a murderer, so you didn't contradict anything that was said in the least.
In my posting the way I did, I intended to shock some. It was exactly to counter what I felt was implied with the headline question. And, the suspect is in fact a priviledged, white male, so take that at face value. If it makes you breath easier, I'm white as well.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
(Not that they're not related, but my initial comments were about how we perceive perpetrators, NOT how we perceive victims.)
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Anyway, I thought this discussion was about the media coverage of the people who commit the crimes. What does the media coverage of the victims have to do with anything?
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Well, I have only lived three different places, but in each of them, it was consistently more about class than about race. A big deal is made out of missing women/children (or murdered women/children) if they are middle class or upper class, and a big deal is not made if people who are lower class are murdered. I have also had personal experience with this. I'm Caucasian, but a good African American friend of my father's was found murdered in his home; it dominated the headlines for weeks. On the opposite side, a Caucasian, urban Appalachian woman was missing for two weeks, along with her two young children, in the area in which I volunteered at a community center. (She regularly came to the center.) It was not even on the news once.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
I'm not sure where you live but where I live that doesn't happen far too often it is about race. I have personal experience with this. I have family members that were murdered and it never even made the news coverage and I have also had a family member that committed murder it it topped the news every day for two weeks and he was vilified in the news his funeral was even disturbed by local police and less than a week later Sandra Cantu alleged murder was found and she didn't even headline the news every night and was being spoken of as " Sunday school teacher" etc
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Even serial killers generally kill those who look like them. It is true that they target specific groups, but they usually have a reason for targeting that group. For example, a man with problems with his mother might target women who remind him of his mother. VERY FEW serial killers randomly pick a group and kill people from that group for no reason. I will admit that it's true that most serial killers are white males. But, it's untrue that most are the privileged type who have never had to work a day in their lives. I was commenting on the fact that Brandy seems to assume that, because they are white males, they are automatically privileged. Additionally, just saying that he looks like something "typical" shows that it is in fact profiling.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
But, if you need another example, I remember some time ago, probably about 10 years or so, there was a murder in a town near my hometown. The assailant was a wealthy black doctor. There were multiple news stories in the local paper about how he didn't fit the profile of a typical murderer, about how no one suspected him because of his social standing. That's just one time I specifically remember, but I've seen it again and again. I've also seen multiple stories on the news, pretty much every day, but at least once a week, about lower class white people who kill others. No one ever comments that they don't fit the profile of a typical criminal.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
lilkimbo, I think no one comment on the profiling because brandy is speaking about specific and prolific serial killers that no one has any sympathy or love for. You are correct that in general cases of murder people kill people who look like them "black on black crime" and when thier was a black serial killer the ATL child murders it was a black man who did it. But Serial Killers in general are different some kill prostitutes only, some kill only gay non white men ( Jeffery Dhamer) so they typically kill outside of there etc.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Additionally, if you read what I said, you would see that I was referring to the life Simpson led before the trial and investigation, not the trial and investigation itself.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I only mentioned O.J. because it was directly in response to the comment right before mine.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
"I think this has a lot more to do with social class than it does with race." And you just mention OJ Simpson, this has almost everything to do with race the Simpson trial involved a wealthy person but ended up being all about race it polorized a lot of people specifically by race.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Brandy, that's partially because a lot of those people also killed other white people. Across the population, you are most likely to be killed by someone who "looks like you." If you are white and middle class, you are more likely to be killed by someone who is white and middle class. And, study after study has shown that crimes tend to get more attention when the victim is white and upper or middle class. I am surprised that no one commented on the profiling in comment #23, given that people seemed so upset that someone who is poor and/or a minority might be profiled. I guess it's OK to assume things as long as we're assuming them about the more privileged group.
I was not trying to compare him to serial killers, but I see how it could come off that way. I was trying to point out that the most infamous serial killers in the U.S. have been white males. Bundy, Manson, Dahmer, Gacy, UnaBomber, Gein. All white males. I'm sure I could list more.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
Did you not read Lord of the Flies? Everybody has the capacity for evil.
DCStar DCStar 8 years
Let's not compare him to a serial murderer just yet!! Please allow the courts to do their job in deciding his guilt or lack thereof. I feel so bad for his fiance who likely had no idea anything was going on!
Yup. He looks like the typical priveleged white boy whose never had to work for anything in his life, as it's all been set up for and handed to him. Take a moment to think about the American serial killers of the past. What do the majority of them have in common?
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
Kind of OT here: I just don't understand that many people are 'terrorizing' the engagement-wedding website of these two (the accused murderer and his fiance) and basically bashing the fiance whom right now doesn't seem to be connected to the crimes. If people want to just bash the accused person, heck, I kind of understand but not saying that it's right (although I firmly believe in innocent until proven guilty). What if the fiance's really clueless. I mean, she believes in his innocence. Just why many were bashing her on that website? (I got this from reading the ABCnews article) I wonder if the last wife of the Green River killer and other never-caught serial killer noticed their husband's crimes but I don't blame them for not knowing who they're married to. I'm sure if the murderer is a 'pro' then, he knows how to really cover his tracks well from people of his own family.
kty kty 8 years
what are murderer supposed to look like?
Love-and-Sex Love-and-Sex 8 years
Well put, dragonlady. Sociopaths are indeed fascinating and terrifying. From what I've read about them, they are high on the power of duping other people, so part of the thrill is in getting away with things because that makes them feel smarter than everyone. Scary, scary stuff.
dragonlady920 dragonlady920 8 years
I think it makes people feel better to think they can look at someone and just "know" whether s/he is dangerous. Which is ridiculous, as everyone here has stated. It's easy to see some guy in a business suit or something and be lulled into a false sense of security, when really he's planning on raping you in the parking garage. Sociopaths come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and socioeconomic classes! And a sociopath, which is more than likely what this guy is, is the scariest kind of killer--they don't kill for money, drugs or desperation (usually). They kill because they can, because they lack a moral sense of right and wrong. This is what those little kids who torture puppies grow up into. Sure, he took the money, but that was probably just a bonus. And a sociopath is often very good at leading a double life, which is probably why he has a fiance.
starsmom starsmom 8 years
what does a murderer look like?.........perhaps that is why he is so dangerous........
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
LOL. Yeah, I think just about everyone can be a murderer. Then again, hey, it's innocent until proven guilty, right? :p
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