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The Craig’s List Killer

April 1, 2011

AN ANXIETY-INDUCING INTERROGATION

Imagine you’ve committed a crime of epic proportions. You think you’ve gotten away, covered all your tracks. Then, six days later, bombing down the highway on the way to Foxwoods with your fiancee, blue lights flash in your rearview mirror.

Do you maintain composure, or do you crumble?

Yesterday Boston.com posted the entire transcript of Philip Markoff’s first questioning with the police.

According to prosecutors, Markoff, a 23-year-old BU med student and gambling addict, solicited the services of female escort Julissa Brisman via Criag’s List, and met up with her in a room at the Copley Marriott, before robbing and murdering her. The murder occurred on April 14th, 2009; six days later, the police arrested Markoff on I-95 en route to Foxwoods.

In August 2010, while awaiting trial, Markoff committed suicide.

The transcript is a fascinating look into how the authorities conduct interrogations (and they employ some classic techniques). As I read along, I found myself strangely rooting for Markoff, as if, deep down, I was hoping they had found the wrong guy. Yet as his answers became more muddled, I also started to wonder how I would react were I in Markoff’s shoes—that sinking feeling when it becomes apparent that the authorities know everything, and are just angling for an admission of guilt (or do they know everything? That’s the internal struggle).

While Markoff never caves (he would go on to plead “not guilty”), his growing anxiety, frustration, and foggy memory certainly imply involvement.

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