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'Craigslist killer' suspect found dead in jail cell

Philip Markoff, 24, was accused of killing a woman he met through the site's erotic services section.

The former medical student accused of being the "Craigslist killer" has been found dead in his Boston jail cell, according to an Associated Press report.

Philip H. Markoff, 24, was found unresponsive Sunday morning and pronounced dead, the Suffolk County district attorney's office said in an e-mailed statement to the AP.

"Markoff was alone in his cell, and all evidence collected thus far indicates that he took his own life," the statement said.

Markoff, a former student at Boston University, was arrested in April 2009 and charged with the slaying of a woman he met through Craigslist personals ads in its erotic services section. Markoff, who was also accused of attacks on two other women, was expected to go on trial in March 2011.

Markoff's fiancee initially stood by him, but canceled their scheduled August 14, 2009, wedding after his arrest. Saturday would have been their first wedding anniversary.

The slaying thrust the site's erotic services section into the national spotlight, and law enforcement officials put pressure on the Internet bulletin board remove the ads and shut down the section. The sheriff of Illinois' Cook County filed a civil suit against Craigslist, accusing it of being a public nuisance and of violating federal, state, and local prostitution laws. However, a federal judge later found that the site was not liable for the ads and dismissed the suit.

In May, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal subpoenaed Craigslist in an investigation into whether the Internet bulletin board was doing enough to curb prostitution ads on the site and whether it was profiting from them. At the time, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster dismissed the probe as political grandstanding on Blumenthal's part.