One of Johnson’s co-conspirators, Robert West, was found guilty in Februaryof accessory after the fact to murder and interference with a dead body. He was sentenced to 15 years behind bars, while Tommi Hintz pleaded guilty to aiding an offender after the fact. She was sentenced to five years of probation Aug. 29.
According to Johnson’s probable cause affidavit, Johnson gave Balsimo a ride to Minneapolis from Duluth on June 19, 2021, in Johnson’s Audi Q5. When he got to Minneapolis, Balsimo told a friend he was "going to have a problem with the person he was with, and that the person was 'packing.'"
Hintz told law enforcement officials Johnson called her June 20, 2021, and asked her to bring him gas. He reportedly told her, "Please don’t make me tell you what I have on me." Hintz traveled to West’s home in South Range, Wisconsin, and handed Johnson the fuel. The same day, Johnson went to an acquaintance’s house and handed her a bag "containing what was believed to be a gun."
Hintz got into Johnson’s car and noticed two bullet holes in the front seat.
Eventually, investigators learned Johnson and Balsimo were driving to the Twin Cities and got into an argument. At one point, Balsimo started "threatening everyone in the car with a knife," and Johnson shot him June 20. He claimed he did it in self-defense.
Following the killing, Johnson even went to his daughter's birthday party with Balsimo's body still in the vehicle.
The criminal complaint says West and Johnson took Balsimo's body to an RV, where Johnson dismembered him. West bought buckets and cement used to dispose of the remains. After that, West asked Hintz to find someone with a boat because he needed to "get rid of items that could never be found."
Johnson was arrested June 24, 2021, on unrelated charges, so he told Hintz to go to the acquaintance’s house and get the gun. Detectives executed a search warrant at Johnson’s storage facility and discovered blood and a loaded firearm.
A witness told detectives he met up with West and took him out on a boat on Lake Superior. The man saw West "drop two 5-gallon buckets and one large tote, which he said contained the body of a dog, into the water."
Officials went to Lake Superior and were able to locate the buckets and tote, which had been filled with cement. Once they were recovered, the remains were transported to the Anoka County Medical Examiner’s Office and positively identified as Balsimo’s. The autopsy showed he had suffered gunshot wounds to the torso.