69 of 218 DOCUMENTS

	The Boston Globe

	April 24, 2009 Friday

	Believing in Markoff: Loyalty or lunacy?

	BYLINE: By James Alan Fox and Jack Levin, 


	LENGTH: 709 words

	IT IS AN all-too-familiar story, though one that continues to bewilder
	us. Reminiscent of Charles Stuart and Neil Entwistle, local ``nice
	guys'' with a dark side, the suspect in the Craigslist murder case
	turns out to be a handsome 23-year-old medical student, engaged to his
	college sweetheart.
	Those closest to Philip Markoff, the once-promising high achiever,
	remain incredulous. Despite a pile of incriminating evidence - despite
	the gun and plastic ties that police say they found during a search of
	his Quincy apartment, and despite what investigators believe is a
	collection of women's underwear that be-longed to the Craigslist
	victims - Megan McAllister, Markoff's devoted fiancÈe, has insisted
	on his innocence. ``Philip is a beautiful person inside and out, and
	could not hurt a fly!'' she wrote in an e-mail to ABC's ``Good Morning
	McAllister's ``stand by her man'' posture stems not from denial, but
	from loyalty. The Philip she knows would surely not be capable of
	perpetrating a crime spree, but that is the very nature of a secreted
	dark side. While the rest of us profess the notion of ``innocent until
	proven guilty'' but always with a wink, to Markoff's fiancÈe and
	family the mantra of American jurisprudence is more than just words.
	Although she is suspected of nothing more than devotion, local media
	pundits have had a field day, ac-cusing McAllister of being incredibly
	naive, if not downright stupid. Why did she not see through his mask
	of morality? Why did she not turn him into the police long before he
	had murdered anyone? Are women just so easily blinded by love?
	If the criminal charges are true, Markoff fooled nearly everyone in
	his life, male and female alike - his high school teachers and boyhood
	friends, the medical school admissions committee, most of his
	class-mates, as well as his family members back home. Almost
	universally, they viewed him as intelligent but not immoral; they saw
	him as a normal and decent human being, not a monster.
	The suspected Craigslist killer would not be the first to have led two
	lives. The wife of Ken Bianchi, a man convicted of killing numerous
	women and girls in California and Washington state, once said that
	``the Ken I knew couldn't have harmed anyone.'' Dr. Harold Shipman
	poisoned to death as many as 500 of his elderly patients; he was
	considered an effective and caring medical practitioner who was even
	willing to make house calls to care for his needy patients.
	In the Craigslist case, the reaction of the suspect's fiancÈe says
	more about him than about her. If Mark-off proves to be the killer,
	then he is also an all-American sociopath, a manipulative and crafty
	assailant who also happens to be a master at impression management.
	The sociopathic element was indicated by the fact that the perpetrator
	was back attacking a woman, this time in Rhode Island, just 48 hours
	after murdering his victim at the Copley Marriott. Rather than take a
	holiday from crime, he appears to have extended his string of
	robberies without any pangs of conscience or remorse.
	A trustworthy appearance may have done more than just fool those
	closest to the killer. It is precisely the veneer of respectability
	that may have allowed him to victimize young women selling in-call
	``massage'' serv-ices out of prestigious Boston hotel rooms. If he
	looked more like the crazed monster that we might other-wise expect of
	such a predator, Markoff would not have been able to get past the
	peep-hole test.
	According to the American Psychiatric Association, millions of men are
	sociopaths - lacking in empathy, they can offend with moral impunity.
	Fortunately, most do not kill. They might cheat, lie, or womanize, but
	killing is not their passion - unless you threaten them or become an
	obstacle to their success.
	Charles Stuart, who was employed as the manager of a posh Newbury
	Street furrier, fatally shot his pregnant wife, Carol, in the head
	because fatherhood would have cramped his style.
	So, rather than criticizing Philip Markoff's fiancÈe for her
	allegiance, perhaps we should be thankful: If he turns out to be
	guilty, at least she was spared. James Alan Fox and Jack Levin are
	professors at Northeast-ern University and co-authors of ``The Will to
	Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder.''

	LOAD-DATE: April 24, 2009