A former US Army medic from Minnesota was allegedly killed and wrapped in blankets by her boyfriend – just days after he was released from prison for previously assaulting her.
Police responded at the Hopkins home of 33-year-old Danicka Bergeson on July 8 after her caretaker reported hearing moans, screams and banging from inside her apartment. according to the Star Tribune.
Her body was found on her bed — tightly wrapped in blankets and a thick comforter, the newspaper reported, citing court documents filed last Wednesday.
Cops also heard noises and noticed “an overpowering smell of bleach” in the bathroom – where they found Bergeson’s 39-year-old ex, Matthew Brenneman, who had been drinking bleach, the documents say.
He also had scratch marks on his face, arms and legs, and “conspicuous scratches on his back that indicated abrasions from fingernails,” the file says.
Police also found men’s bloodied clothing in another room, as well as a note in the kitchen in which Brenneman expressed his love for the victim – and said he meant it disrespectfully in the way he wrapped her body, the documents show.
“I’m very sad and I regret everything, but it is what it is. … I passed out, lost control and sadly, for the first time in my life, injured a woman,” he wrote in an earlier draft found in the trash, according to the report.
Brenneman was only released from prison on June 27 after pleading guilty to assaulting Bergeson in April and May when he beat, bit and choked her in her home – and threatened to kill her, the authorities said StarTribune.
As part of his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed not to grant “additional time” for the slammer unless Brenneman violated a no-contact order — but two days later he was near her home, the Star Tribune reported, citing cellphone records.
According to the report, Bergeson appears to have been killed sometime between that day, June 29, and the day her body was found, July 8.
Brenneman was initially held for violating the no-contact order but was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder on Wednesday.
Bergeson’s father, David, has criticized authorities for failing to issue the accused killer with “binding consequences” from his previous attacks.
“This guy was just a danger. There was a story there,” Bergeson told the newspaper.
Her father said she stayed with Brenneman despite the repeated abuse because “she had a very kind heart.”
“One of her big problems was that she wanted to fix people. Then he becomes a kind of taker, gaining access to their credit cards and their lives,” David Bergeson told the newspaper.
He said he adopted Danicka when she was nine, having joined the family as a foster child at the age of six.
“She’d been through a lot most of her life, in and out of foster care, and had a traumatic upbringing, some scary things,” Bergeson said.
“She was successful in academia, was a fantastic tennis player and was part of a state champion swim team,” he told the newspaper, adding that she attended the University of Minnesota.
Danicka took a break to join the US Army and became a medic before returning to complete her animal science degree and take a job at a veterinary clinic, her father said.
She eventually had to quit because she sustained a back injury while on duty, he added.
“She had a real zest for life. She had all the gifts to be proud of as a parent,” Bergeson said.
Court documents cited by the Tribune show that Brenneman was the subject of a protective order in 2021 for allegedly tying a woman to a bed during a drunken outburst.
A judge set his bail at $1.5 million for murder, but he remains detained without bail pending sentencing in the domestic violence cases. KARE 11 reported.
Hennepin County District Attorney Mary Moriarty told the Star Tribune that domestic violence cases can be among the most difficult cases to prove “due to the ongoing romantic relationships between victims and defendants and because victims are often afraid to attend the trial.” .”
However, she noted that “our law firm was able to secure two convictions for his prior conduct.” With no prior criminal record, probation was the likely outcome based on sentencing guidelines.”