A Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde

Sometimes a boring life isn’t such a bad thing. Life can be much simpler, happier, and peaceful. More importantly, a boring life doesn’t usually involve going to prison.

Erika and BJ

Erika Grace was born in 1978 and was raised near Altoona, Pennsylvania. She grew up in a wealthy family as an only child, which led to a privileged upbringing. She played basketball and started on the varsity team as a freshman. Erika graduated in 1995 and went on to attend Mary Washington College and get her degree in history.

She was on a good path until she met Benjamin Sifrit at a bar during her senior year.

Benjamin, who went by BJ, grew up in the Midwest. He graduated high school in 1996 and joined the Navy. He was fit and active. He entered SEAL training and went to the top of his class. But he was very impulsive and reckless. BJ had an anger problem that got him in trouble.

Ben asked Erika if she would marry him just a few weeks after meeting in that bar. No one saw it coming. Things went downhill from there.

BJ ended up getting dishonorably discharged from the Navy. From there, they moved back to Altoona, where Erika’s parents helped them set up a scrapbooking store. Erika had loved scrapbooking, and they thought it would be a great business for her.

Along with the store, Erika and BJ also sold items on eBay, especially Hooter’s merchandise. To get this merchandise, they broke into restaurants after closing.

Genie and Josh

Martha “Genie” Crutchley and Joshua Ford met at an office party. While they had a decent age difference (about 20 years), they instantly connected. They had been dating for about two years when they moved in together.

On Memorial Day weekend of 2002, they rented a condo together in Ocean City, Maryland. They were expected back at work after the weekend, but they never showed. This was not like either of them. Their coworkers reported them missing.

Upon investigation, the Ocean City police found Genie’s car in the parking lot of the condo they were staying at that weekend. Their condo looked clean, and nothing seemed out of place. The police tracked their movements that weekend and discovered they were last seen leaving a nightclub with another couple.

There were not any leads until an alarm went off in the middle of the night at a local Hooters. Upon arriving, the responding officer found an obviously drunk couple. It was BJ and Erika Sifrit. They not only had guns and knives on them but also Genie and Josh’s drivers’ licenses.

The Investigation

They were both arrested, and their rented condo was searched. The evidence was unbelievable. The Sifrits had pictures of Josh and Genie from the night they went missing. On the coffee table, the police found bullet casings. There was even a picture of Erika wearing Josh’s ring. The ring was found earlier in Erika’s purse.

The forensic team found blood in the tile grout and hair and blood in the sink. DNA testing revealed Josh’s blood was on the bullet casing. Genie’s blood was also found in the condo.

When confronted with the evidence, Erika agreed to tell them where the bodies were if she got her charges reduced. The Sifrits had dismembered the bodies of Josh and Genie and put them in various locations in Delaware. The police were able to find pieces of their bodies in a trash dump site.

The Trial

Genie and Josh had been random targets for Erika and BJ. They just enjoyed committing crimes. They had even pulled a gun on another couple before Josh and Genie. However, they had let them go. This couple was called to testify at each of the trials.

Erika and BJ went to trial separately. They couldn’t prove that BJ killed Josh, but he was convicted of Genie’s murder. Erika was convicted of both Genie and Josh’s murder. BJ was given 38 years while Erika was given life plus 20 years.

BJ is eligible for parole in just a year, 2021.

Erika and BJ got divorced in 2010.

Sources:

Blanco, J. I. (n.d.). Benjamin Sifrit | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers. Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://murderpedia.org/male.S/s/sifrit-benjamin.htm

D. (2014, October 17). 10/16/2014 | Fed Judge Denies Erika Sifrit Appeal; Decision Likely Exhausts Challenges | News Ocean City MD. Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://mdcoastdispatch.com/2014/10/16/fed-judge-denies-erika-sifrit-appeal-decision-likely-exhausts-challenges/

Woman Murders, Dismembers Couple With Husband Before Robbing Hooters Restaurant. (2018, July 9). Retrieved May 22, 2020, from https://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/woman-murders-dismembers-couple-robbing-hooters-restaurant

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