Woman connected to murder, dismemberment of St. Paul man found on North Shore pleads guilty – KSTP
A Duluth woman has pleaded guilty to her role in the killing and dismemberment of a St. Paul man. She must also cooperate in the prosecution of others involved in the case.
The woman, Tommi Hintz, admitted Tuesday to helping a friend dispose of a homicide victim’s remains in Lake Superior last summer. She also admitted to concealing evidence of the crime by handling a backpack that contained the firearm used to kill victim Richard Balsimo.
Family members and supporters of the Balsimo family joined the hearing, criticizing police for their alleged failures to act when Balsimo first went missing.
Hintz told the court she received a call from Jacob Johnson around 4:30 a.m. June 20, 2021, and they met at Robert West’s residence in South Range. They later met up at another friend’s house, and she noticed bullet holes in Robert West’s car.
Hintz said she got dropped off at her West Duluth home, got a call from Robert West asking if she knew anyone with a boat. She agreed to drive with West following her in his pickup truck to Grand Portage. West allegedly disposed of the victim’s remains in 5-gallon buckets and a large tote.
Police found three buckets and a tote bag filled with concrete on July 15-16 after being led onto the lake by a witness. The remains were left in the water after with the help of a fisherman acquantance of Hintz.
Hintz asked this acquaintance to help dispose of some “personal belongings.”
Robert West is facing felony charges for allegedly helping Jacob Johnson mutilate and dispose of Balsimo’s body after shooting him. West and Johnson burned their clothes and put the body parts in buckets and cement to throw in Lake Superior.
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