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Crime News Domestic Violence

Minnesota Man Indicted for Allegedly Killing Ex-Girlfriend Days After He Was Released from Jail for Attacking Her

“Our thoughts are with the victim's family as they navigate this terrible chapter of their lives,” Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said.

By Dorian Geiger
A police handout of Matthew Brenneman

A Minnesota man who allegedly killed his girlfriend days after he got out of jail for previously attacking her has officially been indicted, prosecutors said.

A grand jury indicted Matthew Brenneman, 39, on charges of first-degree murder, and two counts of second-degree murder in a domestic-violence related homicide, in connection with the July slaying of 33-year-old former Army medic Danicka Bergeson, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.

RELATED: Ex-Army Medic with “Kind Heart” Allegedly Killed by Boyfriend Days After His Jail Release

“Our thoughts are with the victim's family as they navigate this terrible chapter of their lives,” Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty said in a press release. “Intimate partner violence requires a powerful response. It is an act that leaves traumatized survivors and devastated families in its wake. We are aggressively prosecuting those who commit this violence.”

What happened to former Army medic Danicka Bergeson?

On July 8th, law enforcement responded to a distress call in relation to Bergeson's residence, after a building manager reported a disturbance in her apartment. Upon arrival, police found Bergeson's lifeless body, meticulously wrapped in layers of blankets, and a comforter, in her bedroom, Minneapolis television station KARE reported. 

“Significant bruising and abrasions" were found on Bergeson’s face, arms, torso and other areas on her body, court documents stated. Her corpse had likely been decomposing at her home for a number of days, an autopsy revealed.

An “overwhelming odor of bleach," was also present at the crime scene, according to court documents. Brenneman, who was found in the bathroom and had allegedly apparently ingested bleach, was subsequently hospitalized. 

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Several notes were also recovered by detectives from the kitchen table that Brenneman allegedly wrote, admitting to carrying out Bergeson's murder. 

“I do not wish to divulge what all transpired, personal things exclusive to [Bergeson] and myself to know or seem as though I’m trying to justify the many terrible, absurd or unacceptable things that happened between us,” he allegedly wrote. “I never loved any woman I was romantically involved with as profoundly and honestly as [Bergeson].”

Brenneman also appeared to apologize for his alleged act.

“I’m very sad and remorseful about all of this, but it is what it is,” Brenneman allegedly wrote, Law & Crime reported. “I’m deeply sorry to [Bergeson’s] family, friends, and my own family and friends.”

Matthew Brenneman had history of domestic violence 

Brenneman, who was previously accused of assaulting Bergeson twice this year, had been at the apartment in apparent violation of a protective order she’d filed.

Brenneman was first arrested in April, related to an alleged drunken outburst in which he assaulted and bit Bergeson. He was arrested but was released the very next day, according to KARE. Brenneman was again jailed the following month for strangling and threatening to kill his former girlfriend. He ultimately pleaded guilty in both cases. He’d been scheduled to be sentenced in August, and had been out of jail for 11 days when he allegedly carried out Bergeson’s murder.

RELATED: Jonathan Majors' Ex-Girlfriend Describes Alleged Injuries She Sustained While Testifying at Assault Trial

In a leaked jail phone call with a family member following his arrest, Brenneman appeared to maintain the alleged killing wasn't pre-meditated, instead referring to Bergeson's death as a crime of passion. 

“Without discussing anything, that’s kind of what it is anyway,” Brenneman allegedly told a relative on the jailhouse telephone call. “It’s not like I f---ing had been plotting something.”

Brenneman's defense counsel, Sarah Anne Koziol, has argued the case should be dropped since Bergeson's cause and manner of death couldn't be determined by the medical examiner. 

Bergeson’s family was also aware of the domestic abuse problems. 

“This guy was just a danger,” Bergeson’s father, David Bergeson, told the Star Tribune. “There was a history there.”

Bergeson completed a degree in animal science from the University of Minnesota. She previously served in the U.S. Army as a medic, according to KARE. 

Brenneman remains in custody on a $2 million bond at a Hennepin County detention facility, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com

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