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Rix sentenced to 30 years in prison; he shot girlfriend in Minnesota, drove her body to St. Croix Co.

Tanner Rix

Silence filled courtroom 2B in the Goodhue County (Minnesota) Justice Center in anticipation of the arrival of Tanner Jess Rix, who last month pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder -- with intent of Angel Linderman, his girlfriend at the time, in September 2014.

The silence allowed the sound of the elevator from the Adult Detention Center to permeate the walls of the courtroom seconds before Rix, wearing a blue jumpsuit, feet and hands cuffed, entered under the watch of a packed courtroom, which utilized the jury box for extra seating.  

When the proceedings were complete, Rix left the courtroom having said nothing on his own behalf, having made no eye contact with those from Linderman’s family who offered statements, and having been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Judge Lawrence Clark said as with the guilty plea, he wasn’t under the illusion this sentencing would provide Linderman’s family, including her daughter, any real comfort or solace.

“I don’t think you can underestimate the impact this has had on her family,” Clark said before reading the sentence. “Her loss, and her death, is a stone they will have to carry for the rest of their lives.”

Rix must serve at least 20 years in custody, with the potential to serve the final 10 years under supervised probation.

Charges of second-degree murder -- without intent, third-degree murder and possess pistol with previous felony conviction were dismissed. He received credit for 432 days served and payment of restitution will be determined at a later date, the judge said.   

Wisconsin beginnings

According to a criminal complaint filed across the Mississippi River in St. Croix County Circuit Court, Rix called 911 shortly after 11:45 a.m. Sept. 9, 2014, asking for a medical helicopter. He told the Wisconsin dispatch his girlfriend, 28-year-old Linderman, also of Lake City, had been shot in the head.

Deputies found Rix near a .22 caliber pistol and a knife in the roadway, the complaint states, and Linderman face down in the front seat, hidden by a car tire and a tarp.

Rix was charged that month in St. Croix County with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. He pleaded guilty in March to one count of hiding a corpse.

The case was moved to Goodhue County after Rix told authorities in Wisconsin he shot Linderman near Red Wing. St. Croix County Deputy District Attorney Michael Nieskes said after examination of the evidence, it was “fairly clear” the death occurred in Minnesota.

Rix’s story

Initial autopsy reports indicated Linderman likely died between 4 and 6 a.m. Sept. 9, 2014, but according to a criminal complaint filed in Goodhue County District Court, Rix told authorities he shot her between 4 to 4:30 p.m. the day before.

Rix said the two drove to Marco’s Auto Recycling located off Highway 19 near Red Wing the afternoon of Sept. 8. After stopping to talk to the owner, Rix and Linderman crossed Highway 19 to Leeson Lane to turn the car around. It was there, Rix told investigators, he shot Linderman in the face while inside the vehicle.

Cellphone records obtained by investigators show Rix’s cellphone was used in Lake City during the late morning and early afternoon hours of Sept. 8, 2014, after which data showed the phone traveled to Cannon Falls, Rosemount and Eagan, returning to Lake City around 9:30 p.m.

Rix’s cellphone was next picked up around the Lakeville and Rosemount area at 3:47 a.m. and accessed a tower in St. Paul around 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2014. The next service access was near Baldwin, Wis. at 11:45 a.m., the same time Rix called the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office.

Court records also show Rix used his phone to search for “lake city murders,” “angel linderman” and “tanner rix” before 9 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2014. Rix also used Linderman’s EBT card at two separate locations that morning, with video surveillance showing him enter the businesses.

On the radar

According to a Wabasha County complaint by warrant, Rix was on the radar of Minnesota authorities in the weeks preceding the alleged murder.

Rix was charged in the complaint with three felonies – two counts of second-degree controlled substance crimes and one count of unauthorized use of a firearm.

The arrest warrant was issued Sept. 9 – the day after, according to Rix, he shot and killed Linderman.

The complaint states a confidential informant working with the Southeast Minnesota Drug Task Force purchased a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine on Aug. 5, 2014, from Rix. The informant told investigators that Rix had a loaded .22-caliber gun in his garage.

On Aug. 19, 2014, the same informant bought a .45-caliber handgun from Rix for $400, the complaint states. The complaint also notes that Rix had two previous drug possession convictions.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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