The newlywed couple recently charged with the murder of a man they lured to his death via Craigslist aren’t the first to find their victims on the site. Hundreds of crimes have been attributed to contacts made through Craigslist, including more than a dozen murders. The following are five of the creepiest and most disturbing on record.
1.The “Craigslist Killer”
The so-called Craigslist Killer, Boston University medical student, Philip Markoff, was accused of the murder of a woman he met through the site in 2009. He answered an ad for erotic services that the woman had placed on Craigslist. He subsequently shot and killed her in a Boston hotel room. He was also charged with armed robbery in that case and with the armed robbery of two other women,also contacted through Craigslist. Markoff committed suicide in jail while awaiting trial. There has been speculation that he may have had other victims.
What makes Philip Markoff’s case especially creepy is the fact that seemingly no one could believe him capable of the crimes. Upon his arrest family, friends and teachers expressed their shock. He was engaged to be married and his fiancée long maintained a belief in his innocence. Though he was never convicted, evidence suggests that he was a killer living a successful double life. His story was made into a TV Movie in 2011.
2.The “Mentor Murders”
In 2012, Richard Beasley, 53, was sentenced to death after being convicted of the murder of three men and the attempted murder of a fourth, whom he met through Craigslist. Beasley was described as a “spiritual mentor” to 17-year-old Brogan Rafferty who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the murders.
The two men placed ads offering farm work in rural Ohio. Three of those who answered the ads were shot and killed, a fourth was shot and escaped, leading to the ultimate identification and capture of the murderers. Robbery was the apparent motive in those cases.
The supposed mentor-mentee relationship of the two, combined with Rafferty’s young age make this case particularly creepy. It is also a documented case involving the cooperation of two people to commit murder, demonstrating that the recently charged newlywed Craigslist killers aren’t the first to work together to commit their crimes.
3.The Ali Salim Killing
Ali Salim, a 44-year-old former emergency room doctor pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter earlier this year. He further pleaded guilty to charges of tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.
Salim had an extensive history of contacting women via Craigslist for sexual encounters. His victim was a pregnant mother of two who had apparently turned to prostitution in a desperate attempt to support herself and her family. She died of a fatal heroin overdose which prosecutors say Salim administered. Salim even went so far as to make a recording of himself having sex with the woman after she had become incapacitated and then moving her body. She was found in her car some distance from Salim’s home. Salim is awaiting sentencing.
4.The “Nanny Murder”
In 2009, Michael John Anderson, then age 20, was convicted of having murdered a woman two years earlier who had answered an ad he had placed for babysitting services. Anderson has been described as the first convicted murderer to have used Craigslist to lure his victim.
5.The Fruit Grove Murder
A Florida woman, Latoya Jordan, was convicted of murdering a man she entered into a relationship with after they met through Craigslist. She confessed to stabbing him to death during a dispute related to their living situation. She continued to live in the man’s home, with his decaying body, for several weeks following the killing. She then found another man to live with through Craigslist, but was tracked down by police shortly thereafter.
Unfortunately, the most recent creepy Craigslist killers aren’t the first to use the site to find a murder nor are they likely to be the last. These tragedies and more demonstrate that safety should be a paramount concern when dealing with others on Craigslist or any other website that might lead to personal contact.
By Michele Wessel