7 disturbingly true horror stories of Craigslist killers. These crimes of murder commit by online serial killers are shocking!
7: Philip Markoff
April 14th, 2009: Julissa Brissman’s body is found dead in a Boston hotel. Her suspected killer was a medical student named Philip Markoff. Markoff was in his second year at the Boston University School of Medicine when the crime occurred. It was at this same time that he was also implicated & charged for two armed robberies. On April 14th, Markoff allegedly posted an ad on Craigslist seeking massage services. Julissa responded to the ad & the two apparently arranged to meet at the Copley Marriott in Boston, where she was later found dead inside one of the rooms. An ensuing police investigation discovered that she had been corresponding with a man named “Andy.” They were then able to trace “Andy’s” email address back to Markoff & found out that it was a fake account he had set up. After obtaining photo ID of Markoff, the police then compared that image to the hotel’s video security tape. The comparison between the two made Markoff their primary suspect. To further solidify their case, they contacted the victims of the two armed robberies that took place before the murder. The police suspected him of being responsible for all three crimes & this belief was confirmed when an exotic dancer named Corinne Stout & an escort named Trisha Leffler identified Markoff as their attacker. Thus, the police were granted a search warrant for his apartment. Once they got inside, they found a gun with bullets that matched those used against Julissa Brissman along with same type of duct tape & zip ties used in the crimes. They also found the computer that was believed to be used to contact his victims. Armed with this evidence, police arrested Markoff on April 20th, 2009. He was charged with first degree murder & guns charges, though he pled not guilty. Markoff maintained his innocence until August 15th, 2010, the date he committed suicide. Prison workers found his body with slashed wrists, ankles, & arteries. He had also stuffed toilet paper down his throat & placed a plastic bag over his head. As a result, Markoff never stood trial for his alleged crimes.
6: John Katehis
November, 2011: 18-year-old John Katehis is convicted for the murder of George Weber, a well-known radio personality in Brooklyn, New York. Katehis confessed to the 2009 murder upon his apprehension & claimed he was a satanist & sadomasochist. He even cited the teachings of Anton Lavey & the Church of Satan as the inspiration for his crimes. Weber & Katehis met on Craigslist after Weber posted an ad for “rough sex,” to which Katehis responded. After exchanging several sexual messages & making plans to meet up, Weber’s body was found dead by police with more than 50 stab wounds in it. Although he confessed to the killings, Katehis later pled not guilty to second-degree murder. His attorney argues that Katehis stabbed the radio host in self defense after Weber attacked him. The first trial ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury. Katehis was retried, however, & was found guilty of second-degree murder & weapons charges, for which he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
5: Korena Roberts
Heather Snively was pregnant & looking for some new baby clothes for her unborn son, John Stephen. She met Korena Roberts on Craigslist after Roberts offered to sell her some baby clothes. However, as Roberts would later confess, she murdered the mother & attempted to cut her unborn baby out her womb. An investigation later revealed that Roberts contacted several other pregnant women on Craigslist with the same offer of selling them baby clothes. According to police, Heather was ambushed & stabbed to death by Korena after arriving at Korena’s home in Beaverton, Oregon. She then cut the baby out of the womb, covered up Heather’s body, & hid it in the closet. She proceeded to call her boyfriend—who believed her to be pregnant—and told him she needed help delivering the baby. Upon arrival, he found his girlfriend Korena crying & holding a lifeless fetus. He called the paramedics & Korena was driven to the hospital, where the baby was pronounced dead. But a medical examination eventually revealed that she had not actually given birth to the baby. This led to a call to the police, who searched Korena’s home & found Heather’s dead body. Korena was, of course, arrested & later confessed to the crimes. As it turns out, Heather was stabbed at least 30 times in the back, neck, & abdomen & was also bit in the arm. Korena ultimately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
4: Brandon Kent
After putting his motorcycle up for sale on Craigslist, Thai lam welcomed a potential buyer to his garage in Chatham County, Georgia. This buyer was Brandon Kent. Instead of making an offer, Kent shot Lam & left him for dead then proceeded to leave on the motorcycle. Police responded to the sound of gunshots and chased Kent to an apartment complex, where he then tried escaping in an SUV. Police were eventually able to arrest Kent & after hours of questioning him, booked & held him in jail without bail. While the details of his trial are unclear, he was ultimately found guilty & sentenced to life in prison.
3: David Sparre
23-year-old David Sparre met 21-year-old Tiara Pool through Craigslist in 2010. According to her ad, Tiara was having marriage troubles & sought male companionship. So she met up with Sparre & had sex with him. Then things turned deadly. According to prosecutors, Sparre tortured Tiara before stabbing her 90 times & killing her. Police were able to track him down by tracing Tiara’s emails & text messages back to him. During his trial, Sparre made no effort to defend himself. He claimed to have enjoyed killing Tiara & that he hoped for an opportunity to kill again. He even instructed his attorney not to present any evidence in his defense. Although his attorney admitted Sparre was guilty of second-degree murder, he insisted Sparre did not deserve the death penalty on grounds that he was mentally unstable. Sparre, however, insisted that the judge discard his attorney’s argument, which she did. The jury unanimously found him guilty & sentenced him to death, which the Florida Supreme Court upheld in 2015.
2: Alexander Lyons
February, 2011: 19-year-old Jonathan Clements of Detroit, Michigan makes plans to buy an Android phone from a man he met on Craigslist. He was to go to the home of Alexander Lyons to complete the transaction. Upon his arrival, however, Lyons shot him dead, after which he & another man named Deangelo Clemons took the $95 that Jonathan was going to use to buy the phone then fled the scene. The two men were eventually arrested. Lyons was charged with robbery & murder while Deangelo was charged as an accomplice. Deangelo’s attorney argued that not once did he leave the car, he didn’t have a gun, & he wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger. He therefore should be punished less severely than Lyons. But in the end, both men were found guilty of first-degree murder.
1: Richard Beasley & Brogan Rafferty
October, 2011: Richard Beasley posts an ad on Craigslist in search of a farmhand. According to The Atlantic, the job promised good pay & an easy job that required feeding a few cows & keeping an eye on things. Scott Davis responded to the ad & headed over to the farm in rural Ohio. The 48-year-old Davis left his girlfriend & landscaping business in South Carolina to work there, as his mother lived near Akron, Ohio. Working on the farm would allow Davis to help take care of his ill mother while at the same time earning income. Davis packed most of his belongings into a trailer & traveled to Ohio to meet Beasley—who introduced himself as Jack—along with his nephew Brogan Rafferty. Davis met the two at a local diner for breakfast & then left his trailer full of belongings in a nearby parking lot. He then rode with them to the farm under the impression that they were going to repair parts of the road & make it easier for Davis to move his truck & trailer. Under the coverup story of retrieving equipment, Davis was lured into the woods alone with Jack. It was at this point that things took a dangerous turn. Jack attempted to shoot Davis, but his gun jammed. After realizing he was in danger, Davis made a run for it but took a shot to the elbow. Nevertheless, he still managed to escape & ran to a neighbor’s house to seek help. A few weeks after Davis told the police his story, they received a phone call from a woman looking for her missing brother. As it turns out, Davis was not the only victim of “Jack” & his young accomplice. The woman’s brother was David Pauley, who had also answered a similar ad posted by Beasley. Like Davis, he packed up all of his belongings & went to Ohio for this new job. But unlike Davis, Pauley did not survive the encounter. Friends & family did not hear from him for weeks after his departure & go worried. After doing some detective work, Pauley’s sister, Deb, read about Davis’s story & decided to call the police. The local sheriff looking into Davis’s story sought the help of the FBI after receiving Deb’s phone call. The FBI sent investigators to the same spot where Davis was shot and after doing some extensive searching, managed to dig up David Pauley’s dead body. Armed with his evidence, they then began looking for his killers. They tracked down Beasley by tracing his IP address & cell phone to a small house where he was tenting a room. He had been living under the name of Ralph Geiger who, in fact, was the name of his first victim. Beasley killed him specifically so he could assume is identity. As it turns out, Richard Beasley had a long criminal record & was wanted for parole violations at the time of the killing spree. In order to elude authorities, he lured Geiger to the same spot in the woods, shot him, & went about stealing his identity. In order to make money, he developed a scheme in which he’d lure more men to him under the false belief of providing a farmhand job. They’d bring all of their belongings & Beasley would then take them into the woods & kill them. The plan backfired with Richard Davis, which is what ultimately let to their downfall. Before they were arrested, Beasley killed three men in total, the third of which was 47-year-old Timothy Kern. Beasley’s nephew, Brogan Rafferty, admitted his crimes & even provided details to investigators as to exactly how he helped his uncle commit the murders. Brogan was sentenced to life in prison while Beasley was sentenced to death. But despite all this, Beasley continues to claim his innocence & has made plans to appeal his sentence.