BOSTON – Amid the thousands of pieces of evidence released Thursday in the case of a medical student accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist, one stands out as a grisly reminder of the brutality of the crime: a pair of brown leather shoes stained with her blood.
Prosecutors said Philip Markoff was wearing the shoes when he fatally shot the New York City masseuse, Julissa Brisman, on April 14, 2009, after she agreed to meet him in her room at a Boston hotel.
Markoff, who also was accused of robbing two other women in hotels in Boston and Warwick, R.I., took his own life in jail last year as he awaited trial in Brisman's death.
Authorities say Markoff beat Brisman, 25, when she resisted his attempt to rob her, then shot her three times. Six days later, they say, he was wearing the blood-stained shoes when he was arrested.
"He had Julissa Brisman's blood on him -- literally -- when we took him into custody and charged him with her murder," Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said during a news conference in which prosecutors released their case file on the Markoff investigation.
Investigators showed photographs of the shoes and other evidence in the case, including two pairs of underwear they say he took from one of the women. On a table, they displayed a hollowed-out medical handbook, "Gray's Anatomy," in which they said he stored the handgun he used to kill Brisman.
The documents, photographs, video surveillance and other evidence released by Conley's office offer nothing to answer a lingering question in the minds of investigators: Why did Markoff -- a Boston University medical student who was engaged to be married and had a bright future -- decide to meet women through the erotic-services section of Craigslist and then rob them?
Markoff was charged in the armed robbery of a Las Vegas woman at another Boston hotel within four days of Brisman's death. Rhode Island prosecutors accused him of attacking a stripper that week. He had met all three through Craigslist advertisements for erotic services, authorities say.
Shortly after Markoff's arrest, some investigators theorized that he had gambling debts. He was stopped by police as he was driving to the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut.
But Conley said investigators have not been able to conclusively determine any motive.
"There was apparently a very dark and sinister side of Philip Markoff that he took to the grave with him," Conley said.
Attorney Djuna Perkins, who represents Brisman's mother, Carmen Guzman, said she was pleased that the case file had been released.
"I think that for any family that's lost a loved one in such a horrible way, you want to have some control," Perkins said. "And all you can have control over now is information.
"It's part of getting control over something they had no control over to begin with."
The materials released by Conley include Markoff's phone and computer records, which show him communicating with the women before he met them at hotels.
Investigators also released Markoff's interview with homicide detectives on April 20, 2009, the day he was arrested.
In the interview, Markoff denies knowing anything about Brisman's death or the attacks on the other two women.
The detective questioning Markoff repeatedly appears sympathetic and urges Markoff to "be honest" and explain how a man who looks just like him was seen on surveillance video at the hotels where the women were attacked.
Markoff says several times that he does not read the newspaper or watch local television news and is not familiar with the case.
"I didn't tie up and rob anybody," Markoff said.
He adds: "I don't really know what you're talking about."
Detectives end the interview after Markoff repeatedly says maybe he should get an attorney.
"Can I get one?" Markoff asks. "Because you're going to keep asking -- if you're going to keep asking me the same questions -- I told you I don't know what you're talking about. So can you get me an attorney?"