New charge against Craigslist suspect

May 4, 2009 1:39:15 PM PDT
A medical student jailed in Boston on suspicion of killing a masseuse he met on Craigslist was charged Monday in Rhode Island with pulling a gun on a stripper in a hotel. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

An arrest warrant issued Monday accuses Philip Markoff of assault and weapons violations. Authorities previously said Markoff, 23, was the suspect in the April 16 robbery attempt at a Holiday Inn Express in Warwick.

An exotic dancer from Las Vegas who offered lap dances told Rhode Island authorities that she was bound with cord and held at gunpoint by a man she met through Craigslist, a classified advertising Web site. She said her assailant fled when her husband came up to the hotel room.

"He will be brought to justice," Attorney General Patrick Lynch said at a news conference.

A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity previously told The Associated Press that investigators found Markoff's fingerprint in the hotel. They also believe he sent text messages from there.

Markoff, a second-year medical student at Boston University, was arrested April 20 on Interstate 95 while driving with his fiancee to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.

He was charged with the April 14 killing of Julissa Brisman, a 25-year-old New York City resident who advertised on Craigslist, at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel, in the historic Back Bay district. He has also been charged in a separate robbery at a Boston hotel of another masseuse police say he met through the site.

He has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, John Salsberg, did not return a phone message Monday.

Because Markoff is a suspect in a homicide case in Boston, it could take six months to a year before he makes his first appearance in a Rhode Island courtroom, Lynch said.

Prosecutors could convene a grand jury to indict him in the Warwick attack or press criminal charges directly against him. Markoff was put on suicide watch at the Boston jail where he is being held.

The Rhode Island warrant accuses Markoff of assault with intent to commit robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon, which each carry a maximum of 20 years in prison.

It also includes counts of possession of a handgun and using a firearm while committing a crime of violence, which have lesser punishments.

A Superior Court judge signed the arrest warrant Monday morning.

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