July 26, 1995 – Madison, WI
The security company handling the security alarm for the
Citgo Quik Mart on Cottage Grove Road
manager to say the alarm had not been set. The manager drove to the store and found the body of
Ericha Von Hoken, the clerk who had worked that night. She had a telephone cord wrapped around her
The case went unsolved for months until a routine traffic stop on April 21, 1996. A police officer
stopped a man who gave the officer information that led to the arrest of the two east-side brothers
who committed the murder. The driver hoped giving information would get him out of a traffic ticket.
As many as 12 East Side residents knew who strangled her, but they all kept silent, police said.
She begged them not to harm her. She offered to lie to police and say she was robbed by two black
males (the two men are white). But after tying her to a chair with heavy rope, one of the men took
the telephone cord and wrapped it around her neck and strangled her. She was crying and asking not
to be hurt moments before he tightened a telephone cord around her neck and strangled her, a criminal
The killer, Benjamin Bryant, was a former employee, will not be eligible for parole until he is 72
years old (2043). He was working there the day the woman he killed came in looking for a job. The
fact she would be able to ID him was a factor in his decision to kill her. His 18-year-old brother
was also convicted for his part in the murder/robbery. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Benjamin Bryant (25)
Younger brother, Matthew (18)
Ericha Von Hoken (19) of 133 Walter St.