Dikken faces 2 counts of second degree murder

MARSHALL – The man connected to a double homicide in Granite Falls earlier this month will make his first appearance in Yellow Medicine County District Court Thursday, court records said.

On Wednesday, the Yellow Medicine County Attorney’s Office filed charges of two counts of second degree murder against Andrew Joseph Dikken. The criminal complaint alleges Dikken, 28, of Granite Falls, shot Kara Monson and Christopher Panitzke with the intent to kill them, but without premeditation.

Dikken had been sought by law enforcement in the shooting deaths of Kara Monson, 26, of Granite Falls, and Monson’s boyfriend Christopher Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls. Panitzke, who had called 911 after the shooting early on the morning of Sept. 2, died from his injuries Sept. 8 at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

The criminal complaint alleges that Panitzke identified Dikken as the shooter. Dikken was Monson’s ex-boyfriend.

Dikken was taken into custody about 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Renville County Sheriff’s Office in Olivia, following a two-week search. The Yellow Medicine County Sheriff’s Department said Dikken was brought in by family members who had been cooperating in the homicide investigation. Dikken’s GMC pickup had been found in a remote area 5 miles north of Belview two days after the shooting.

Dikken is being held in the Yellow Medicine County Jail in Granite Falls. A bail hearing has been set for Thursday morning.

In Minnesota, second degree murder charges carry a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski said there was a sense of relief in Granite Falls on Wednesday after news spread that Dikken, whose person-of-interest status changed to suspect last week when a warrant was issued for his arrest, had been apprehended.

“I think people are glad that at least this chapter is over,” Smiglewski said. “The book is still open, unfortunately, so we’ll just turn the page and go on to the next chapter in this story.”

Smiglewski credited local and state law enforcement who had been searching for Dikken for two weeks.

“The law enforcement folks really worked their tails off on this, running down every little clue,” Smiglewski said. “To think he was still in the area is a little baffling.”