philip markov
© Garfinkel/Pool
Philip Markoff during his arraignment on Tuesday

"Smart." "Pompous." Clean-cut." "Creepy."

A high-achieving dentist's son from upstate New York, Philip Markoff is described in various ways, but everyone, even those who didn't like him, is shocked at the charges against him.

"He was smart. He carried himself well," said neighbor Michael Bernard.

"He seemed like the type that would have it all. It doesn't make sense."

Markoff grew up the son of a Syracuse dentist, with an older brother, Jon.

He graduated in 2004 from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, where he was on the bowling and golf teams, and earned a biology degree from SUNY Albany four years later.

In high school, he was an honors student who hung out with the brains and also played a lot of poker, even mentioning his gaming skills on his yearbook page.

"He had a decent amount of friends, although I would say a great deal would have characterized him as weird," said former high school classmate Nate Heysler.

English teacher Sonja Hluska remembered him as a smart kid with a good sense of humor.

"He was one of my most polite students. He was kind.

"Just a nice, clean-cut boy wanting to succeed. That type that you'd like to mother," she said. "I just still can't believe it."

At college, he was a member of the College Republicans and was fairly unremarkable except for the occasional offensive comment, said ex-classmate Joe Coe.

"He was someone that had issues with people of color, had issues with women," Coe told CBS.

"He gave off a creepy vibe," said another SUNY classmate.

Markoff was a sophomore at SUNY Albany when he met his fiancée, then-senior Megan McAllister, when both volunteered in a hospital emergency room.

"We spent about two months pushing stretchers down hallways and bringing blood and urine samples to pathology together before our first date," she wrote on a Web site for the wedding they planned in Long Branch, N.J.