DNA request granted in GF murder case

GRANITE FALLS – A judge has granted a request from prosecutors to get a DNA sample and fingerprints from the man charged with killing two people in Granite Falls in September. At a hearing Thursday, prosecuting attorneys said investigators found finger and palm prints on a tool used to cut the gas lines at the residence where Kara Monson and Christopher Panitzke were fatally shot.

Andrew Joseph Dikken, 28, appeared in Yellow Medicine County District Court on Thursday for the hearing. Dikken is charged with two counts of second degree murder in the shooting deaths of Monson, 26, of Granite Falls, and Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls. A complaint alleges Dikken entered a Granite Falls home on Sept. 2 and shot Monson and Panitzke multiple times. The complaint alleges Panitzke identified Dikken as the shooter. Panitzke died several days later from complications from his wounds.

After the shootings, Dikken became the subject of a two-week manhunt by law enforcement.

At Thursday’s hearing, Yellow Medicine County Attorney Keith Helgeson said prosecutors sought a DNA cheek swab and fingerprints from Dikken. Helgeson said the DNA and fingerprints would be used to compare against evidence collected at the crime scene.

Public defender Stephen Ferrazzano said the defense opposed the request. At this point, he said, it wasn’t known if investigators had a profile for a suspect matching evidence at the scene of the shooting. The first step would be to run the crime scene evidence through DNA and fingerprint databases, he said.

Investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said fingerprints from a tool used to cut the gas lines at the scene of the shooting and DNA from cigarette butts found at the scene, did not match known profiles, said prosecuting attorney Robert Plesha. Plesha said his understanding was that the information would be released to attorneys in the case, and requesting Dikken’s DNA now would help move legal proceedings along.

District Court Judge Dwayne Knutsen granted the prosecution’s request.

At the hearing, Ferrazzano also said Dikken waived his right to an omnibus hearing within 60 days. Waiving the normal hearing schedule would give attorneys more time to review evidence in the case.