Angry that his ex-girlfriend was dating other men, a North Philadelphia man choked her to death and hid her body in a trash can, Delaware County authorities said Wednesday.
Benjamin Boykins, 34, was arrested late Tuesday and charged with first-, second-, and third-degree murder, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and related offenses in the death of Tanika Kirkpatrick. He remained in custody in Delaware County, denied bail. There was no indication he had hired an attorney.
Kirkpatrick had obtained an emergency protection-from-abuse order against Boykins on Nov. 14, after she told a judge that he had broken into her home while she was at work, according to the affidavit of probable cause for Boykins’ arrest. Two days later, authorities said, he killed her.
District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said Wednesday that the case shows the importance of supporting organizations that work with victims of domestic abuse.
“The victim ... knew that her ex-boyfriend was dangerous, and she did what she could to protect herself,” he said. “But in the end, it was not enough to protect her from this defendant.”
On Nov. 17, Kirkpatrick’s current boyfriend reported her missing from her home in Lansdowne, having not heard from her in several hours, the affidavit said. Detectives visited Kirkpatrick’s home and found a large bleach stain on the comforter in her bedroom, along with bloodstains.
They later found Kirkpatrick’s car parked a few blocks from her home, with her keys and cell phone locked inside, the affidavit said. The phone had been set to airplane mode, the document said, and the password had been changed.
Through surveillance footage from nearby homes and businesses, detectives found evidence that Boykins had driven the car on Nov. 17, and had left it parked on the street. Other surveillance footage, taken from the block Boykins lives on in North Philadelphia, showed him taking a heavy object from the trunk of Kirkpatrick’s car and carrying it up the stairs into his home.
After a search of Boykins’ car turned up a cardboard box in the trunk that tested positive for blood, the detectives secured an arrest warrant and he was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals in Michigan, where he had traveled.
During an interview with detectives, Boykins said he went to Kirkpatrick’s home on Nov. 16 to talk with her, according to the affidavit. During his visit, he said, he asked to use Kirkpatrick’s phone because his needed a charge. On the phone, Boykins discovered pictures of Kirkpatrick with other men and became angry, the affidavit said.
He then choked her until she stopped breathing and then, in a panic, took her body out of the home in a plastic bag, the document said. He stored the corpse in a trash can at his home that he later disposed of, according to the affidavit.