Hotel Sued by Family of Craigslist Killer Victim | Courthouse News Service
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Hotel Sued by Family of Craigslist Killer Victim

BOSTON (CN) - The estate of a woman murdered by the "Craigslist Killer" sued Marriott International, claiming the Boston Marriott Copley knew or should have known she was using its room for prostitution, and never should have rented it to her.

Carmen Guzman, administratrix of the Estate of Julissa Brisman, sued Marriott International in Suffolk County Court.

Philip Markoff, a medical student, was charged in 2009 with murdering and robbing Brisman, and two other armed robberies. He allegedly robbed his victims after answering their Craigslist ads for sexual services.

Markoff committed suicide in a Boston jail in August 2010, while awaiting trial.

According to the complaint: "On April 13, 2009, at approximately 1:30 p.m., Julissa Brisman checked into her hotel room number 2034 at the Boston Marriott Copley.

"Ms. Brisman rented and occupied room number 2034 with the express purpose of providing illegal sexual services for compensation.

"Ms. Brisman had booked appointments with nine male clients to take place in room 2034 between April 13, 2009 and April 15, 2009.

"Ms. Brisman had scheduled five appointments, at 1:15, 4:00, 5:15, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. on April 13, 2009, and four appointments, at 8:45 a.m., 6:00, 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. on April 14, 2009.

"Philip Markoff, aka the Craigslist Killer, had responded to Ms. Brisman's Craigslist advertisement and booked an appointment for April 14, 2009 at 10:00 p.m.

"Mr. Markoff arrived the Boston Marriott Copley for his scheduled appointment on April 14, 2009, at approximately 10:00 p.m. After entering Ms. Brisman's hotel room, Mr. Markoff attempted to bind her hands with a plastic cord and rob her. The two became involved in a physical struggle during which Mr. Markoff smashed Ms. Brisman in the head with his pistol and then shot her three times in the torso, resulting in her death.

"According to the BPD, several witnessed in adjoining rooms stated that they heard three loud bangs and high-pitched female screams. Two hotel guests in neighboring rooms then called the hotel front desk to report that a woman was lying on the floor in the doorway of room 2034."

Police arrested Markoff on April 20.

The estate claims that Brisman was not Markoff's first victim in an area hotel.

"On April 10, 2009, four days prior to Ms. Brisman's death, Trish Leffler, a Las Vegas prostitute, was gagged and robbed at gunpoint by Mr. Markoff at the Westin Copley Hotel, located adjacent to the Boston Marriott Copley at Ten Huntington Avenue," the complaint states.

And in February 2009, a team of FBI agents and Boston Police "conducted a sting operation and arrested five women for agreeing to provide sexual services to undercover officers at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel," the complaint states.

The estate claims that Marriott Hotels were the choice of "DC Madam" Deborah Jean Palfrey, and that "Subsequent to the Westin Hotel attack, Marriott had a duty to be on high alert for prostitution taking place within its local hotels, particularly including the adjacent Boston Marriott Copley.

"Marriott knew or should have known that prostitution was taking place within room 2034 of the Boston Marriott Copley as Ms. Brisman's room had steady flows of male clients coming and going in the hours leading up to her death."

Brisman's estate seeks punitive damages for wrongful death. It is represented by Leonardo Caruso.

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