Dikken’s bail set at $3M

GRANITE FALLS – The man accused of killing two people earlier this month in the early morning hours of Sept. 2 in Granite Falls made his first appearance in Yellow Medicine County District Court on Thursday.

Andrew Joseph Dikken, 28, was charged with two counts of second degree murder in the shooting deaths of Kara Monson, 26 of Granite Falls, and Christopher Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls.

Bail was set at $3 million at a hearing Thursday morning.

About 30 people, including family members of the victims, were present in the courtroom gallery. Dikken appeared wearing handcuffs and leg irons. District Court Judge Thomas Van Hon went over a statement of Dikken’s rights, including the right to an attorney and the right to a jury trial.

The criminal complaint alleges Dikken entered a Granite Falls residence on Sept. 2 and shot Monson and Panitzke multiple times.

Monson died of her wounds at the scene, and Panitzke, who made the 911 call on Sept. 2, died Sept. 8 at the Hennepin County Medical Center.

The complaint said Panitzke told police Dikken was the shooter.

Yellow Medicine County Attorney Keith Helgeson requested that bail for Dikken be set at $3 million, without conditions.

“The defendant is a danger to public safety,” Helgeson said.

Given Dikken’s “cold and calculated” actions, Helgeson said, there were grave concerns that he would pose a threat to the families of the victims and the community.

Helgeson said Dikken is also a flight risk, after evading law enforcement for 15 days. He said there was evidence that Dikken had traveled through five states prior to the shootings.

Public defender Benjamin Pieh requested a lower unconditional bail, or release with conditions for Dikken.

Dikken has ties to the area and is no longer a threat, Pieh said.

While Dikken hid from law enforcement, he did not leave the area, Pieh said.

On Tuesday, Dikken, Monson’s ex-boyfriend, was brought to the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff’s Office by family members who cooperated with the investigation and two-week search for Dikken, according to the YMC Sheriff’s Department.

An arrest warrant for Dikken had been issued Sept. 11.

The court granted Helgeson’s request to set bail at $3 million, without conditions.

Dikken’s next court hearing was set for Oct. 3.