Police car lights, State Journal generic file photo crop

Services will be held Tuesday for a Madison hydrogeologist killed in what authorities called a “completely random assault” last week in the Milwaukee area.

Ben Christianson, who would have turned 50 on Labor Day, worked for the Sauk City-based engineering firm Ramaker & Associates. He was stabbed to death Aug. 27 while collecting soil samples in Greenfield.

Amando Lang, 19, has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide in Christianson’s stabbing death. Efforts by a witness and emergency crews to treat Christianson’s neck cut were unsuccessful, and he died at Froedtert Hospital, WTMJ reported.

A witness’ description of the man who stabbed Christianson led Greenfield police to arrest Lang at his home a short time later.

When interviewed, police said Lang provided a rambling response to why he committed the stabbing. In essence, he believed Christianson was a criminal who was going to murder him and his family and felt that he needed to use a knife to put away the threat, WTMJ reported.

Ben Christianson


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Lang’s mother told investigators that she heard her son say “I had to kill that man, mom,” and she told the station that her son is autistic, had previous anger problems, and believed he stopped taking his medication.

The Journal Sentinel reported that a Greenfield police officer knew Lang from previous calls and reported he was “highly paranoid and possibly schizophrenic.”

Christianson, who grew up in Wausau, graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in hydrogeology and had lived in Madison for the past 26 years.

According to Christianson’s obituary, his memorial service is planned for Tuesday at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 504 Grant St. in Wausau. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. and the service at 11 a.m.

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