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Hearing is set for murder suspect Andrew Dikken

GRANITE FALLS — The man charged in the Granite Falls double homicide last month is scheduled for a plea hearing next week, according to court records.

Andrew Joseph Dikken, 28, of Renville, has previously filed a petition with Yellow Medicine County District Court stating his intention to plead guilty to the two charges filed against him — second-degree murder, with intent, not premeditated — in the shooting deaths of Kara Monson, 26, of Granite Falls, and Christopher Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls. 

Court records say a plea hearing is set for Oct. 30 in Yellow Medicine County District Court.

Dikken remains in custody in the Yellow Medicine County Jail in Granite Falls on $3 million bail.

The court set high bail last month over concerns for public safety and the risk of flight as Dikken was the focus of a two-week manhunt after the shooting.

He has been in custody since Sept. 17 when he showed up at his parents’ home and they turned him into authorities.

The criminal complaint alleges that Dikken entered Monson’s Granite Falls home in the early morning hours of Sept. 1, turned on the lights and shot her and her boyfriend Panitzke as they slept.

Monson died at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds. Panitzke died Sept. 8 at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis of complications from the multiple gunshot wounds he suffered.

Dikken and Monson had a past relationship, and court documents say Panitzke identified Dikken as the shooter. Panitzke called 911 and spoke to law enforcement officers at the scene and at the hospital in Granite Falls where he was initially treated.

By offering the pleas, Dikken said in the petition that he expects to receive a sentence of 632 months in prison, or 52½ years. Sentencing guidelines would require consecutive sentences of 306 months on the first conviction, and 326 months on the second, according to the court filing.

Prosecutors have not commented on Dikken’s petition to plead guilty, or on the possibility of seeking a first-degree murder indictment from a grand jury. A conviction for first-degree premeditated murder would carry a life sentence.

Prosecutors earlier obtained a judge’s order for Dikken to provide a DNA swab to compare with DNA found on a tool recovered at the crime scene used to cut gas lines.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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