A North Philadelphia man was sentenced to life in prison Monday for killing his ex-girlfriend during an argument last year at her home in Delaware County.
Benjamin Boykins, 34, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder during what was scheduled to be his arraignment in county court, according to prosecutors. He was sentenced immediately by Delaware County Court Judge Margaret Amoroso.
Boykins was arrested in February after admitting to detectives that he choked Tanika Kirkpatrick to death in November at her Lansdowne apartment. He told investigators he became angry with her after asking to borrow her cell phone and seeing that she had been texting other men, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest.
His attorney, Geoffrey Seay, did not return a request for comment.
Surveillance video caught Boykins transporting her body in the trunk of her car back to his home in North Philadelphia. He told detectives he put the body in a trash bag that he later discarded, the affidavit said. Detectives later found Kirkpatrick’s body in a trash can in Boykins’ backyard.
Kirkpatrick had filed for a protection-from-abuse order against Boykins just two days before her death, after he broke into her home while she was at work. She had taken steps to distance herself from Boykins, and her new boyfriend reported her missing after not hearing from her for several hours.
After disposing of her body, Boykins fled to Michigan, where he was captured by U.S. Marshals.
District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said he was satisfied with Boykins’ plea.
“While we are grateful for the swift resolution of this case, we are also acutely aware that nothing can undo the trauma and loss that have been inflicted on the victim’s family, particularly her children,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, and to the community.”