Two defendants involved in the dismemberment case of Ricky Balsimo Jr. were sentenced in State District Court in Grand Marais. Robert Thomas West, the mastermind behind the dismemberment plot, received a 15-year prison term for his “particular cruelty and disregard for life.” Tommi Lynn Hintz, who played a role in covering up the murder, was given five years of probation, which could include jail time.
The Balsimo family expressed their ongoing trauma and the difficulty of healing from the crime during emotional statements to the court. Ricky Balsimo Jr.’s sister, Raquel Turner, mentioned her struggle to trust and love again, while his mother, Kim Balsimo, expressed her longing to know where her son’s remains were.
The central facts of the case were largely undisputed. Ricky Balsimo Jr. was shot and killed on June 20, 2021, during an altercation in a moving car in the Twin Cities area. Both West and Johnson claimed self-defense, but their claims were rejected by the juries. West and Hintz were contacted by Johnson after the killing, and they assisted in disposing of Balsimo’s remains.
The Balsimo family turned to private investigators after becoming frustrated with law enforcement’s handling of the case. The remains were ultimately recovered several weeks later.
During West’s sentencing, the judge highlighted his lack of remorse and described his treatment of the body as “garbage.” The Balsimo family described West as a “sick individual.”
The sentencing for Jacob Colt Johnson, the shooter in the case, is scheduled for next month.