A Holmen man faces life in prison after he was convicted Wednesday of murdering his girlfriend in 2015.

Bryce Anderson, 31, pleaded guilty to first-degree intentional homicide in the March 1 death of Kristen Johnson. He will be sentenced April 26 in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

A life sentence is mandatory but Circuit Judge Elliott Levine could make Anderson eligible for extended supervision after he serves 20 years in prison. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed not to make a sentencing recommendation.

Anderson struck Johnson, 28, in the head several times with a hammer and cut her neck with a box cutter at the couple’s duplex in Holmen while their two young sons were home, according to the complaint.

Authorities forced their way into the duplex after he made “comments about killing someone” and found Johnson’s body in the back of a car with a belt wrapped around her neck.

They also discovered a confession letter from Anderson stating he had confronted Johnson about an affair. He tried to strangle her with a belt before she swung a hammer at him, according to the complaint.

Anderson sent cellphone pictures of her corpse to another man and fled after the killing to Jones County, Iowa, where police arrested him the next morning when his car slid into a ditch.

Anderson remains jailed on a $500,000 cash bond.


Anne Jungen covers law enforcement and the criminal justice system in La Crosse County. She joined the Tribune reporting staff in December 2005. You can contact her directly at ajungen@lacrossetribune.com or 608-791-8224.

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