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Gas lines had been cut in shooting victim's home

Prosecutors have been granted the opportunity to collect DNA from Andrew Dikken, the Granite Falls man accused of shooting and killing two people last month. Authorities want Dikken’s DNA to compare to DNA found on a tool used to cut the gas lines at the Granite Falls home where two people were murdered last month.

GRANITE FALLS — Gas lines in the home where Kara Monson and Chris Panitzke were fatally shot had been cut, it was revealed in district court in Granite Falls on Thursday.

Andrew Dikken, 28, of Renville, made his second appearance in court on two, second degree intentional murder charges in the Sept. 2 shootings of Monson, 26, of Granite Falls, and Pantizke, 28, of Redwood Falls.

The criminal complaint alleges that Dikken entered Monson’s home in Granite Falls in the early morning hours, flipped on the lights and shot the two as they slept in a bed.

Although there had been rumors about gas lines being cut in the home, the criminal complaint containing the allegations against Dikken make no mention about it.

Prosecutor Robert Plesha, with the state attorney general’s office, obtained an order from District Judge Dwayne Knutsen during Thursday’s hearing to obtain a DNA swap, along with finger and palm prints from the defendant.

Plesha told the court that they want to compare his DNR profile with that found on a tool recovered at the crime scene used to cut gas lines.

The prosecutor also said the state wants to compare the DNA with evidence collected from cigarette butts recovered at the crime scene, and alleged to have been left by the defendant.

According to the criminal complaint, Monson had died at the scene, but shooting victim Panitzke was conscious and called 911 for help. He allegedly identified Dikken as the assailant when speaking to the first officers at the scene, as well as shortly after when speaking to an officer at the Granite Falls Hospital emergency room.

Panitzke also allegedly told the officers that after the shooting, he could hear Dikken walking around the house.

Dikken did not enter a plea in Thursday’s hearing, which is known as a rule 8 hearing. He watched the proceedings at the defense table in handcuffs and wearing orange jail clothing.

At the hearing, defense attorney Stephen Ferrazzano with the public defender’s office told the court that Dikken waived his right to an omnibus hearing within 60 days. It means that both sides have a longer period of time to review the evidence prior to the scheduling of an omnibus hearing.

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

After the proceeding, the Yellow Medicine County Attorney’s office said it could not comment on whether a grand jury would be convened to consider a first degree murder indictment in the case. Only a grand jury can bring a first degree indictment. Conviction of first degree murder carries a possible life sentence.

The two, second degree murder charges filed in this case carry maximum penalties of 40 years in prison.

Tom Cherveny

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

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