BOSTON – Prosecutors will formally drop their case against a man who committed suicide while awaiting trial on charges of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist. On the same day, the slain woman will be honored with a memorial stone in a memorial garden to homicide victims.
Because of his death, authorities must drop the charges against Philip Markoff, the former Boston University medical student who was accused of killing Julissa Brisman last year. Prosecutors plan to file the notice Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court.
Later Thursday, Brisman, 25, of New York City, will be honored during an annual rededication ceremony at Boston's "Garden of Peace," a memorial for nearly 700 murder victims. The focal point of the garden near the Massachusetts Statehouse is a dry streambed containing smooth river stones engraved with homicide victims' names.
Brisman's stone, along with stones for 34 other victims, will be added Thursday. Her mother and other family members are expected to attend.
Brisman was beaten with a gun and shot three times at a Boston hotel. She was one of three women Markoff was accused of robbing or attacking after meeting them through Craigslist.
Markoff, 24, was found dead last month in his cell at Boston's Nashua Street Jail. Authorities said he made a scalpel from a pen and a piece of metal, inflicted wounds in his neck, arms, wrists and ankles, cut his carotid artery and covered his head with a plastic bag.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley, said prosecutors will file a "nolle prosequi," a notice that the case against a defendant is being dropped.
"The defendant's death leaves us unable to continue prosecution in this case," Wark said. "A formal notice to the court must be filed when we terminate prosecution short of trial."
Prosecutors will get a chance at a later date to publicly release the evidence they had against Markoff, Wark said.
The memorial where Brisman's stone will be placed opened in 2004. The homicide victims honored in the garden range from babies to elderly people.
"What we hear from some families is that going to the cemetery can be very isolating and hard, but coming to the garden is a place where they feel they are surrounded or connected to other people who can really relate to what they've experienced," said Toni Troop, chair of the garden's board of directors.
"We're humbled that they have chosen to remember (Julissa Brisman) in the garden, and our hearts go out to the whole family," she said.