3rd person charged in killing of St. Paul man found dismembered in Lake Superior

A Superior, Wisconsin, man has been charged in connection with the killing and dismemberment of a St. Paul man whose body was found in Lake Superior last month.

Law enforcement recovered Richard Balsimo’s body from Lake Superior near Grand Portage, Minnesota, in several separate containers. With the help of a witness who led the suspects onto the lake in his boat, they found three 5-gallon buckets and a tote bag filled with concrete during a two-day operation from July 15-16.

According to a warrant signed Monday by a Cook County judge, 35-year-old Jacob Colt Johnson is being sought on one count of second-degree murder in connection with Balsimo’s death.

Two others have been charged in this case: 41-year-old Robert West of Duluth has been charged with aiding an offender and interference with a dead body, and 31-year-old Tammy Hintz of Duluth has been charged with accomplice after the fact to felony murder and interference with a dead body.

According to a criminal complaint, Balsimo was riding in a car with Johnson in the Twin Cities when he brandished a knife and started threatening the other people in the vehicle. Johnson then allegedly shot Balsimo several times; the two other female occupants then fled.

Johnson then took Balsimo’s body up to a property in Douglas County, Wisconsin, where he allegedly dismembered the body and placed it in buckets. The complaint states West admitted to police that he had purchased the buckets and tools used to dismember the victim’s remains, as well as the cement used to fill the buckets.

The complaint continues to say that West had contacted Hintz, telling her “he needed to go on a boat to get rid of items that could never be found.” Hintz asked an acquaintance, a commercial fisherman who owned a boat, for help disposing of some "personal belongings." The night of June 22, the fisherman took West out onto Lake Superior to drop 5-gallon buckets and a tote into the water.

West was arrested on July 16 for his suspected involvement in Balsimo’s death, and Hintz was arrested on Wednesday.