Craigslist killing suspect can't afford lawyer

April 27, 2009 3:34:25 PM PDT
The Boston University medical student accused of slaying a 25-year-old masseuse he met on Craigslist owes more than $130,000 in student loans and cannot afford an attorney, according to court papers. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Philip Markoff, 23, also does not get money from his parents and has been unemployed for a while making him eligible for an appointed attorney paid through public funds, court documents showed.

"(Markoff) stated he did not receive financial support from his family," said an April 23 document signed by a probation officer. "(Markoff) further stated he was unemployed for a lengthy period of time and was essentially living off student loans in the amount of $130,000."

Court papers say Markoff was interviewed on April 21 by officer Athena Kotarides, who later wrote that Markoff signed an indigency form. The Committee for Public Counsel Services appointed attorney John Salsberg to represent Markoff later that day.

Markoff was a second-year medical student at BU at the time of his arrest last week during a traffic stop as he drove to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. He also graduated from the State University of New York-Albany.

Markoff is charged with murdering Julissa Brisman on April 14 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel. He also is charged in a robbery at a nearby hotel of another masseuse police say he met through the Craigslist classified ads Web site.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Salsberg has said Markoff is innocent of the charges.

Meanwhile, a member of the band booked to play at Markoff's wedding said the Aug. 14 wedding has been called off. William Forte, the keyboardist and owner of the Bstreetband, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, said a relative of Markoff's fiancee, Megan McAllister, called him and said "that as of right now, there is no way they will be able to have the Aug. 14 wedding date."

Forte said he plans to return the couple's $500 deposit.

"Under the circumstances, I would never hold them to the contract," Forte said.

A law enforcement official said Friday that Markoff's fingerprint was found on a wall of the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, R.I., where a stripper has said she was tied up and held at gunpoint by a man she met through the site. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

The official also said Markoff sent text messages from the hotel but said he didn't have information about what he said or to whom he wrote. Markoff has not been charged in Rhode Island.

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