Craigslist Killer Philip Markoff Finally Commits Suicide in Jail. Body Language Signals of Anti Social Behavior May Have Been Ignored By Ex Fiance Megan McCallister

It comes as no surprise to me that Craigslist Killer medical student Philip Markoff finally did himself in. According to reports he put  plastic bag over his head and smothered himself to death as well as cutting an artery so he would bleed to death.

When he was first arrested and put into custody, there were reports that he constantly picked at himself until he bled. In fact eyewitnesses stated that Markoff “started to pick at his ear” the day his Megan McAlister  fiance at time visited him in jail.

His self mutilating body language spoke volumes. But what about his body language signals when he was dating and engaged to Megan? did they speak volumes as well or did Megan ignore them?


Markoff’s  picking at himself until he bled  was a form of self mutilation. Because he was caught and  finally trapped , it was a body language tell that indicated that he was punishing himself  and displaying his  self  loathe for getting caught.

Markoff was so arrogant and thought he was so brilliant and clever at figuring  out his  brilliant plan to make an easy buck. He answered Craigslist ads placed by those engaged in offering sexual messages or services and robbed them. He was sure they wouldn’t protest or report him. After all, they were doing something illegal as well and didn’t want to get themselves in trouble by reporting illegal acts they were committing.

But when  they protested, he killed them like he did with 26 yer old Julissa Brisman. Police found lots of evidence-panties he collected from  his apartment from his victims along with  plastic handcuffs, and a hollowed out Grey’s Anatomy book containing a gun- his murder weapon.

So when he  was caught, he was bright enough to know that there was absolutely no way out. His self mutilation and self punishment reflects his  anger at himself for not being so brilliant and for getting caught.  This lead to his ultimate self punishment of killing himself.  Because he was devoid of emotion as most psychopaths are, his emotional distress was revealed in his body picking.

He knew what lay ahead of him. So he took the easy way out and saved the state time and money and did the job himself. So now there is one less Toxic Man among us.


One of the significant body language tells that can be observed with Markoff can be seen when he was in the courtroom. He showed absolutely no emotion. His face was stoic and he barely moved .

Emotionally, through his facial expressions and body language , he showed a lack of remorse and a lack of guilt. This is very indicative of those with antisocial personality disorders. There was also no question that he was in shock when first capture , much like another very tall, intelligent  and  handsome fellow who allegedly killed several young women- Joran van der Sloot.

What these two miscreants have in common is that they were so arrogant and full of themselves and thought so highly of their own intelligence that they never thought they would ever get caught. So when they did get caught they were in complete physical  shock. This dramatically showed in their body and facial language.


What was most chilling to discover was how security cameras showed Markoff  casually strolling to and from  the three different crime scenes as he used his Blackberry. He showed the same psychopathic casualness that Joran van der Sloot showed in his body language. when he calmly walked out of the hotel room carrying his bags, while he left a mutilated dead woman inside his hotel room.

It seems that their demeanor isn’t the only thing these two had in common.  They both robbed  killed women for money to help support their gambling debts and habits. They had no sympathy or remorse for their victims and were able to continue on in their lives  as though nothing happened.


There is no doubt that Markoff thought about killing himself the whole time he was incarcerated. But he chose to commit the act on  the date of  his would be first wedding anniversary. To me this is clear a shout out to Megan, a beautiful young  and intelligent woman, who also wanted to become a doctor herself, who  had no clue about him or the double life he was leading.

Perhaps his suicide on the date of their failed wedding was a sick and depraved message to   Megan  in order to  one last time create pain and emotional  havoc in someone’s life.

It was clear from her statements to the press and statements, through her attorney, which were  made  after Markoff was arrested,  Megan had no idea who her fiancé was or what he was doing in his spare time- robbing and killing. She wrote in her email to the press:

Unfortunately you were given wrong information as was the public. All I have to say to you is Philip is a beautiful person inside and out and could not hurt a fly! A police officer in Boston (or many) is trying to make big bucks by selling this false story to the TV stations. What else is new?? Philip is an intelligent man who is just trying to live his life so if you could leave us alone we would greatly appreciate it. We expect to marry in August and share a wonderful, mean‘I will stand by Philip as I know he is innocent.

And in a message to a reporter on a social networking site she said the following :
‘Philip is a beautiful man inside and out. ‘He is intelligent, loyal, and the best fiance a woman could ask for. He would not hurt a fly!’

But were her words true? Did she really believe her words? The answer is probably.  Perhaps  he only showed her his good side.  On the other hand, perhaps there were signals all along  but Megan may have been  too blinded by a  planning  a lavish wedding and a future with a bright doctor.  The question is were there signs early on that could have clued Megan in to the fact that her fiancé was living a double life?  The answer is YES!


As any forensic psychiatrist  will tell you, once you decide to burrow  deep beneath the surface you will discover that this aberrant  behavior did not happen over night. They were there when he was a child. The fact that he refused to make eye contact with his parents when they sat in the courtroom also seems to speak volumes. They no doubt knew early on that something was off with their son which they may have chosen to ignore.

Perhaps they felt that now that he was going to get married he would  finally straighten out. But they were wrong. When he told his parent to forget about him after they visited him in jail, it said it all.

There may have  also been symptoms of Philip Markoff’s  psychopathy that were evident that Megan McAllister also  ignored or refused to see.

One of the most telling things in psychopathic behavior is the emotional detachment. You can actually see it in their engagement photo. While he is smiling with Megan, she is the one lovingly nuzzling into him. He on the other hand  has a mask-like  smile and doesn’t embrace her arm. Instead he awkwardly positions the front of his hand against her elbow.  He doesn’t lean into her or embrace her. Granted  this is only one photo.

But when we examine another photo of the two of them in a more casual setting,  we see the same pattern. She is nuzzling  and leaning into him and he is so detached,  he even has one of his hands behind his back as though he has something to hide-  his secret  life. Again you do not see him embracing her or showing signals of affection towards her.

Megan may have rationalized that Philip  wasn’t the affectionate type or didn’t like public displays of affection. But when two people are about to marry, there should be a lot of  mutual displays of affection. But were there other signs?

1, Did he lack sensitivity?

2. Was he cunning and manipulative?

3.  Did he show a lack of remorse or guilt?

4, Did she catch him in lies?

5. Dis she think he was callous and lacked sympathy?

6.  Did she notice that he was full of himself all the time with a grandiose sense of self worth?

7, Dis she notice a glibness and a superficial charm?

8. Did he always seem to blame others and not accept responsibility for his  actions?

9. Did he seem to have a shallow ?

In retrospect, I have no doubt that Megan could answer YES to many or all of these questions.

These are the signs of someone who exhibits psychopathic or sociopathic behavior. In fact I discuss this is greater detail in my new book which will be coming out in November  2010 called TOXIC MEN- 10 Ways to Identify, Deal With and Heal From men Who make Your Life Miserable which you may pre order by clicking here

If Megan chose to ignore these red flags, it is understandable. After  all, they met doing something that was selfless and good for the sake of others. They were both hospital volunteers when they were in college. So she saw Markoff  as a good person who does good for others. The fact that he was in medical school and intent on becoming a doctor confirmed to her that he was a good persona nd out to help others.

She thought he guy from a good family, seeing that  his father was a respected dentist.  As a doctor, they had wouldn’t have financial worries.  They were planning a big wedding and she was ready to start her life with him.

So after he was picked up on I 95 while they were in the car together, police  separated them  in two police cars where Philip was taken into custody and Megan was released. It is understandable why she vehemently proclaimed that there must have been some mistake.

But Megan’s story teaches us a great deal. We must be vigilant. We must look for these red flag signals and never ignore them or hope they go away or change. They cannot  change.

We cannot be blinded by what we want to see and not what is actually there or not there. Based on Markoff’s body language towards Megan in the above photos  what was not there was a lot of  open affection. That may have been indicative of his inability to have anything other than a detached emotional interaction with another person. It may have been the first red flag of  psychopathic behavior.


6 thoughts on “Craigslist Killer Philip Markoff Finally Commits Suicide in Jail. Body Language Signals of Anti Social Behavior May Have Been Ignored By Ex Fiance Megan McCallister

  1. Your analysis of the 2 pictures with Megan sure say it all. Excellent post. One less psychopathic killer, that’s a good thing. Your upcoming book looks to be an important one!


  2. its really scary that someone like the craiglist killer can be in our lifes and we don’t/can;t see them for who they are… yikes..
    i can’t blame him for commiting suicide.. he was done and he knew it.. i hope megan is able to over come all of this… i read that he wrote her name on the wall in his blood.. i really don’t understand that..
    can’t wait to read your book i have experienced men who i can answer yes to your nine questions hopefully i will get a better insight to them and how to better react..


  3. First, I want to say that I am so sorry for the victims and their loved ones who suffered as a result of Philip Markoff’s behaviors. His suicide left them with little closure if in fact, there can ever be closure! A trial may have helped these folks to some degree. I read both books written about this case. Sadly, for the most part, they did not answer the many questions about who was Philip Markoff and America’s question at the time of his arrest: “how could this have ever happened”. I wrote an article about what I determined to be significant personality disorders that most characterized Philip’s criminal behaviors. The Borderline and narcissistic evidence is there, however, as to the anti-social personality, questions continue to arise at least for me with regard to the possible stressors, the disorganization of the crimes, including what seemed to be an unconscious wish to be caught or possibly a major cry for help. While he may meet some of the criteria for the anti-social personality diagnosis, there is something that just doesn’t come together! Both books mention that he came from a “fractured” family meaning a divorce and most unusual, a splitting up of the siblings, older son went with dad, Philip remained with mom, etc. However, in order to answer the question “how could this have ever happened”, (a young and bright medical student at BU, engaged to a wonderful and bright woman, an honor student, etc.), there must be a followup by a combined authorship of forensic psychology and perhaps a law enforcement perspective to gain an answer to the question. The individual interviewing Markoff’s family must be empathetic and compassionate and with a desire to understand what could have happened to this man called the “Craiglist Killer”. At this juncture, I see great evidence for the following Personality Disorders: 1) Borderline; 2) Narcissistic. Do I believe that Philip was an “evolving” sociopath, with some key symptoms that fit this criteria, well yeah certainly during his week of rampage against vulnerable women! Where’s the history though? We do not have near enough information to arrive at who this troubled man was, not by a long shot. But, I do believe that it is important to better understand who this man was, and to answer that question Americans asked “how could this have happened.” I believe that there is a tendency to NOT want to better understand this young man, because his issues, problems and life in general may just hit too close to home! However, I truly think that we have something to learn from this case that very may well prevent tragedies like the ones suffered by all of his victims.

    Beth E. McGarry


  4. Uh was it Megan’s job to hold a grown ass man’s hand? No. He was book smart but clearly sick in the head. It is nobody’s job to police anyone’s “red flags”…who gives a fuck if this man could have been helped. He wasn’t. I would have loved if my best friend hadn’t of shot herself but she was suffering for a long time and tried to get help. At least she tried. Did this man? No. This man chose to ignore the sick horrible thoughts in his head and chose to just use these people as a doll and bind them. The only thing that could have saved him would have been if his mother had an abortion…or if he just shot himself earlier instead of disgustingly taking out his own insecurities and instability on innocent people. There is no pity for this man. There are no excuses. I hate that we live in a world where “a murderer could have been saved”. He deserves to be dead. He wasn’t saved. He killed someone and that’s that. A murderer should never be allowed to plea insanity…that’s just an easy way out. Smart move waiting to commit suicide…if he was so troubled you’d think he’d off himself instead of dragging everything out and waiting to do it. He wasn’t crazy. He was just a sick man that clearly needed a rush doing sick shit. People shouldn’t be so trusting but that’s something they will have to learn for themselves, like Megan.


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