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EXPERT: Craigslist Killer Is “A Coward”

Apr. 24 2009, Updated 5:24 a.m. ET

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Placed on suicide watch after an apparent attempt to hang himself in his jail cell, “Craigslist Killer” suspect Philip Markoff may seem like he’s buckling under the guilt of his alleged actions. However, an expert tells RadarOnline.com that’s just not so.

“It’s not an acknowledgment of guilt but a recognition that he’s going to have to face this issue and he doesn’t want to face it, he’d rather bail,” says Dr. Sheila Forman, a lawyer, psychologist, and a forensic psychology professor at Loyola Marymount University. “It is a cowardly way to deal with things. This guy is a coward.”

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Markoff- a clean-cut medical student who is engaged to a college sweetheart- looks like a unlikely criminal but Forman notes many people with anti-social (or sociopathic) tendencies are often “very amenable and intelligent and cooperative and friendly.”

The Craiglist killer may have robbed his targets but theft was not the ultimate goal despite appearances. “The fact that he was soliciting these women for erotic services also suggests that there is a sexual component to this and this wasn’t just robbery,” Forman explained. “If he were just a robber he could have just asked them out on a date. He could have said what he wanted to take them to dinner. He’s a future doctor, women would want to date him, and then he would steal money from them.”

As for Markoff’s seeming double life and the surprise of his family and fiance,  Forman says this is a trademark of those with anti-social personality disorder: “They are so proficient at lying that they don’t give it away. They believe what they’re saying is the truth and we don’t pick up on the ordinary signs and cues that would suggest that something is not right.”

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