Minneapolis, MN – A Minnesota man has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his Army veteran ex-girlfriend, just 11 days after being released from jail on parole for a previous assault. Matthew Scott Brenneman, 39, is now facing two counts of second-degree murder. One count of first-degree murder in a domestic abuse case with a history of the same. According to Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty, the incident allegedly occurred on July 8, 2023.
He pleaded guilty to two domestic violence cases in June as part of a parole deal that prohibited him from contacting his ex-girlfriend, 33-year-old Danicka Bergeson. However, her body was found in her Hopkins apartment on the same day he allegedly violated a restraining order. The building manager had reported hearing disturbing sounds from her unit and informed the police, mentioning her recent history of domestic violence incidents involving Brenneman.
Within minutes of arriving at the scene, they discovered Brenneman inside the bathroom, exhibiting signs of disorientation and smelling of bleach. Police said he had inhaled bleach and attempted to commit suicide. With several notes left around confessing to killing Bergeson. After uncovering Bergeron’s body, which had been concealed under blankets and a plastic garbage bag, it became evident that she had been dead for several days. Authorities suspect she may have died due to Brenneman’s alleged assault, although the exact cause of death has yet to be determined.
Phone records place Brenneman near Bergeson’s address on June 29, just two days after his release from jail. A restraining order had been issued against him at the time, barring him from approaching her. The complaint also reveals a history of assault, with witnesses testifying to Brenneman biting and punching Bergeron on multiple occasions.
The police discovered apparent blood-soaked clothing and a series of notes in her apartment, with Brenneman claiming to express love for his ex-girlfriend and that he could not live without her.
Brenneman’s attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the second-degree intentional murder charges on the basis of insufficient evidence. It has not been possible for the medical examiner to determine a cause or manner of death, complicating the prosecution’s case. The motion does not address the first-degree murder charge, which he also faces.
Brenneman is currently in custody, with his bail increased to $2 million. His next court appearance is scheduled for December 18.
Intimate partner violence remains a pressing issue, and authorities are committed to aggressively prosecuting those who commit such acts. The tragic death of Danicka Bergeson has left her family devastated, and a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to assist with funeral expenses.