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Dikken pleads to pre-meditated murder, to serve life without possibility of parole

MONTEVIDEO — Andrew Dikken, 29, of Renville, will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Sept. 2 fatal shootings of Kara Monson, 26, of Granite Falls, and Chris Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls.

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District Judge Thomas Van Hon sentenced Dikken after accepting his guilty pleas to two counts of first-degree murder in district court in Montevideo on Monday.

Dikken pleaded guilty to first-degree, pre-meditated murder in the death of Monson, for which he received the mandatory sentence of life without parole. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, while committing robbery, for the death of Panitzke. He received a concurrent, life sentence for the charge.

He must also make restitution yet to be determined to the surviving families.

He had been charged with six counts of first-degree murder.

Dikken told the court he entered Monson’s home in Granite Falls in the early morning hours with a loaded, .380 caliber pistol intent on killing the two victims. He momentarily debated what to do, before waking both and shooting them, he told the court.

He said he was sorry for the lives he wrecked and took responsibility for what he had done.

“I don’t think your professions of remorse today rings true to the many people in this room,’’ said Judge Van Hon moments after pronouncing the sentence.

The large courtroom in Montevideo was filled with family and friends of the two victims, and many told the court of the heartache and anguish that has come to their lives.

Along with grief-stricken parents, siblings and friends, the two shooting victims are survived by young children. Monson is the mother of a 6-year-old daughter, and Panitzke is the father of a 10-year-old girl. Dikken heads to prison as the father of a young son.

Tom Cherveny

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

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