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February 17, 2021

Philly man choked his ex-girlfriend to death in Delaware County, prosecutors say

Benjamin Boykins was arrested in Michigan in the days after the alleged killing

Investigations Homicides
Delco Homicide Boykins Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Delaware County prosecutors have charged Benjamin Boykins, 34, of Philadelphia, in the November 2020 death of Tanika Kirkpatrick in Lansdowne.

A Philadelphia man allegedly choked to death his ex-girlfriend in Delaware County three days after she had obtained an emergency protection from abuse order against him, prosecutors said Wednesday. 

Benjamin Boykins, 34, allegedly killed Tanika Kirkpatrick, 43, of Lansdowne, last November before fleeing to Michigan, where he was arrested several days later. He was charged this week with murder, criminal homicide, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

On Nov. 17, Lansdowne police were requested to investigate the absence of Kirkpatrick, who had not been seen since the previous evening. Kirkpatrick's boyfriend told investigators that Boykins recently had assaulted Kirkpatrick and had been harassing her, prosecutors said.

When police visited Kirkpatrick's home, they found an apparent blood stain on her comforter and detected an odor of bleach or other cleaning solvent in the bedroom, prosecutors said.

Investigators also found traces of blood inside Kirkpatrick's vehicle, which was located near the residence. Forensic analysis later confirmed the blood as Kirkpatrick's, prosecutors said. Her keys and cell phone had been left inside the car. 

Surveillance video showed Boykin arriving at his home in Kirkpatrick's vehicle on the morning of Nov. 17, prosecutors said. He allegedly was seen carrying a large and heavy object into the residence.

Boykins Delco MugshotSource/Delaware County DA's Office

Benjamin Boykins

Cell phone records from Nov. 19 indicated that Boykins was in Michigan, where authorities were informed he was a suspect in a missing persons case involving foul play. A warrant for his extradition was issued and Boykins was located by authorities in Flint.

During an interview with detectives on Feb. 9, Boykins allegedly said he had visited Kirkpatrick's home and borrowed her cell phone, where he observed pictures of her with other men.

Boykins became angry and choked Kirkpatrick to death, prosecutors said. He allegedly stuffed her body in a bag, took the victim to his home and then hid her remains in a trash can.

"According to the CDC, one in three women experience some form of physical violence by an intimate partner," Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said. "As heart breaking as it is that we could not protect this victim, we must continue to support the work of organizations such as the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County and Women Against Rape for the incredible work that they do to protect, support and defend our community against the scourge of intimate partner violence."