updated 8/17/2010 6:01:43 PM ET 2010-08-17T22:01:43

A former medical student accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist scrawled the name of his former fiancee on the wall of his cell — apparently in blood — before committing suicide, authorities said Tuesday.

The name "Megan" and the word "pocket" were found written above the door in Philip Markoff's cell at the Nashua Street Jail in Boston after he was discovered unresponsive Sunday morning, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said. Investigators were still trying to determine the meaning of the word "pocket."

Markoff used a pen and a piece of metal to fashion a "primitive scalpel" and used it to inflict several wounds in his neck, arms, wrists and ankles, striking his veins and his carotid artery, and then covered his head and feet with plastic bags that were available to inmates, Conley said.

Preliminary autopsy results show the air loss and blood loss combined to kill him, Conley said.

While his death robbed the family of Julissa Brisman, of New York City, of the chance for justice because Markoff won't go to trial, Conley said the suicide was "the ultimate indicator of consciousness of guilt."

"He won't be tried, but he's far from an innocent man," Conley said, adding authorities would someday outline for the public all the evidence they had gathered against him.

Surveillance video shows Markoff was alone in his cell when he turned out the light at 1:59 a.m. on Sunday and was discovered dead eight hours later. He said no one entered Markoff's cell during that interval.

Toxicology tests were still being conducted to determine if Markoff took any drugs, and results were expected to take several weeks.

Conley said he does not know why Markoff was not on a suicide watch, but authorities are considering that question as part of their investigation.

He said surveillance video at the jail does not extend inside the cells but covers hallways. He questioned that guards have any "duty and obligation" to wake up inmates during routine observances.

Markoff, 24, was taken into custody during a traffic stop as he and his then-fiancee, Megan McAllister, were driving to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut last year six days after Brisman's death. Authorities say he had lured Brisman to a hotel and botched a robbery to support a gambling habit.

Authorities also had charged Markoff in the armed robbery of a Las Vegas woman and the assault of a stripper inside a Rhode Island hotel.

McAllister, who met Markoff in 2005 while volunteering at a medical center, ended their relationship and canceled plans for an Aug. 14 beachfront wedding in New Jersey after visiting him in jail soon after his arrest.

Markoff was found dead the day after what would have been their first anniversary.

Conley said Markoff's body should soon be released to his family for burial.

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Video: Probe launched in death of alleged Craigslist killer

  1. Transcript of: Probe launched in death of alleged Craigslist killer

    ANN CURRY, co-host: Now more on that accused Craigslist killer found dead in his jail cell on Sunday. NBC 's Jeff Rossen is in Boston this morning with the latest on this story. Jeff , good morning.

    JEFF ROSSEN reporting: Ann , good morning to you. This really came out of nowhere and shocked everyone from prosecutors to Markoff 's own lawyer to Markoff 's own parents, who we spoke to by phone late last night and said they're devastated. Sources say Markoff used his background, his training as a medical student , to commit suicide. He apparently, according to sources, used a pen inside of his cell to stab himself and then suffocate himself, all inside his own jail cell . Prison guards found Philip Markoff 's lifeless body in his cell Sunday morning. He was reportedly dead for hours before anyone noticed. Law enforcement sources say Markoff , the accused Craigslist killer, cut his own arteries in the leg and neck before putting a plastic bag over his head. They believe he killed himself late Saturday night, what would have been his one-year wedding anniversary to Megan McAllister , the fiancee who dumped him shortly after his arrest.

    Ms. PAT BROWN (Criminal Profiler): When the anniversary came up, I think he realized he was never going to have anything like that again and his lawyers weren't going to get him off, he was going to spend the -- spend his life in prison, and that was something he couldn't face.

    ROSSEN: This clean-cut medical student was accused of leading a secret double life. By day, the all- American boy , engaged to a beautiful woman, planning a wedding that would never happen. By night, the Craigslist killer, attacking women he found on the Web site 's erotic services section. Prosecutors say he killed one of them in a Boston hotel room, Julissa Brisman , a massage therapist.

    Mr. MARK PINES (Julissa Brisman's Friend): And the family was getting ready, preparing for the trial, I mean, getting psychologically set to actually look this man in the eye. Now, all of a sudden , we find out the guy's gone.

    ROSSEN: The evidence was piling up against him. Inside Markoff 's home, investigators found plastic ties and duct tape used in the attacks. Sources say he took the victims' panties and kept them as souvenirs under his bed. They say he even hollowed out his own "Gray's_Anatomy" medical textbook and hid a semi-automatic handgun inside.

    Mr. DANIEL CONLEY (Suffolk County, Massachusetts District Attorney): The defendant is a predator. He preys on young women who are vulnerable, who are unlikely to resist, unlikely to fight back.

    ROSSEN: Markoff tried to hurt himself once before when he first got to jail last year. Just after his then fiancee visited him behind bars and told him, ' It's over ,' he cut himself. Markoff was put on suicide watch . Recently, we're told, he kept to himself, alone in his cell, reading a lot.

    Ms. BROWN: This suicide was not a bid for attention that we sometimes see. A prisoner will do that to get people feeling sorry for him. Markoff had medical training, he knew how to kill himself , and he made sure he was very successful at it.

    ROSSEN: A devastating blow for Julissa Brisman 's family, who was looking forward to confronting him in court.

    Mr. PINES: The idea of a trial would have produced closure on any number of levels, and that's where the truth comes out. You know, but that won't happen now.

    ROSSEN: The family of Julissa Brisman is said to be furious by all of this. And we spoke with Philip Markoff 's parents by phone last night, as I mentioned. They told us they're absolutely devastated by this. Now, Ann , the focus shifts here to the prison in the middle of the city of Boston . The question is how the prison officials let this happen, a high-profile inmate left alone for so long where he's able to kill himself in such a slow and agonizing way without being detected for hours. Ann :


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