Robert Thomas West is charged with being an accomplice to felony murder and helping to conceal a body
West 41, was arrested for ‘dismembering a man’s body before boarding a commercial boat to dump the remains in a lake after telling a fisherman it was his grandmother’s remains before saying it was his dead dog’
Cook County Attorney’s Office July 16 charged West of Duluth with one count Aiding an Offender and one count Interference with a Dead Body for his role in the incident
The charges came after the remains were recovered in Minnesota’s Lake Superior last week, following a tip off from a witness to the dismemberment and disposal
Remains in the bucket has been identified as belonging to 34-year-old Richard Anthony Balsimo who vanished from St Paul on June 20
Police say the victim was dismembered and he had a bullet wound in his torso
The 35-year-old male who West alleges shot Balsimo, was named in the complaint but his identity has not been made public, he has not been charged and his whereabouts were not made clear in the complaint
Police said West dumped the remains after boarding a commercial fishing boat with two five-gallon buckets and a tote bag
West who is in custody for an unrelated charge allegedly, has admitted to his role in the disposal of the body and faces 20 years in prison if convicted
Authorities are anticipating more charges to be filed against West
A Minnesota man has been arrested after he allegedly dismembered a murder victim’s body and then persuaded a commercial fisherman to take him into the middle of Lake Superior so he could dump the remains, which he claimed were his grandmother’s valuables.
The remains in the bucket has been identified as belonging to 34-year-old Richard Anthony Balsimo who vanished from St Paul on June 20.
However, the killer is still at large. The 35-year-old male who West alleges shot Balsimo, was named in the complaint but has not been charged and his whereabouts were not made clear in the complaint.
The murder came to light police said after a female witness contacted them to say she had met West and another man at West’s home the same day Balsimo was reported missing.
She claimed the alleged killer, who hasn’t been named, was nervous about something being discovered in his car and that she had spotted bullet holes in the passenger seat. The informant told police that West asked her two days later if she knew anyone with a boat because he wanted to go fishing. She took him to meet a commercial fisherman she knew in Grand Portage, which is on the shore of Lake Superior.
West allegedly told the woman that he had a ‘dead body in the back’ of his car and that the other man at the house had shot Balsimo in ‘self defense’.
The body was then ‘chopped up’ in a camper, according to police.
When contacted, the fisherman told police he took West out on the boat and saw him drop two five-gallon buckets and a tote bag into the lake.
West had allegedly told him it was his dead dog, despite earlier saying it was his grandmother’s remains.
Police say the fisherman later led them to the area of the lake where West is alleged to have dumped Balsimo’s body. Investigators were able to retrieve one of the buckets and the tote back last week.
Balsimo’s torso was found in the bucket. In the pocket of a pair of pants located in the tote was a casino players card belonging to Balsimo. Agents observed what appeared to be a bullet wound in the torso.
The complaint states that on July 16, 2021, West, while held in custody in Douglas County, Wisconsin, on unrelated charges, requested to speak with law enforcement. West confessed to coming up with the plan for disposal of Balsimo’s body and assisting in the effort to dismember him. West corroborated a number of details from the witness statements.
West remains in custody in Douglas County, Wisconsin, on unrelated charges. A warrant for West’s arrest has been issued in Cook County, Minnesota.
A medical examiner who confirmed the remains belonged to Balsimo ruled that he died of ‘homicidal violence’.
West is charged with one count aiding an offender and one count Interference with a dead body.
Investigators say they anticipate additional charges in the case. West is facing 20 years in prison if convicted..
During his police interview, West allegedly admitted to dismembering the body and disposing of it.