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Army vet found dead just days after her abusive boyfriend released from jail

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers' boots. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)
July 18, 2023

A Minnesota Army veteran was found dead earlier this month by police who were responding to reports of a disturbance just over a week after the veteran’s abusive boyfriend was let out of jail.

Police found Danicka Bergeson, 33, dead in an apartment. Her boyfriend, Matthew Scott Brenneman, 39, was named as a suspect in her death, Fox News reported.

Brenneman pleaded guilty to domestic abuse in June. Under a parole deal, Brenneman agreed not to contact Bergeson when he was released from jail until his sentencing hearing later this summer.

Brenneman also pleaded guilty to striking and biting Bergeson in April while drunk. Immediately after his release that month, Brenneman attacked Bergeson again, Hennepin County court documents stated. At the time, the couple were arguing when Bergeson asked Brenneman to leave.

“Defendant responded by striking her with his fists several times and biting her. Defendant then proceeded to choke victim by placing his hands around her neck and reported difficulty breathing,” police said. “Victim reported being choked for approximately one minute and thirty seconds. While Defendant was choking Victim, Defendant stated he was going to kill her. Victim was in fear that he would act on this threat.”

David Bergeson, Danicka’s father, said his daughter had a hard time leaving her abuser.

“She had a huge smile. Really engaging,” Bergeson said. “Everything with her was always black or white. She knew exactly what was right and wrong. She never broke the rules. She really had a hard time with that.”

Earlier this year, Dustin Passarelli, an Army veteran from Indianapolis, was sentenced to 55 years in prison after being convicted for the road rage shooting death of a Muslim man.

According to The Associated Press, Passarelli was convicted in May for murder and a felony firearm enhancement involving the death of Mustafa Ayoubi, a 32-year-old Muslim man, in February of 2019. Witnesses claimed Passarelli used religious and ethnic insults against the victim prior to the shooting incident.