Pre-trial hearing takes place in Granite Falls murder case

GRANITE FALLS – The case of a man charged with killing two people in Granite Falls last year is still headed for a trial in September.

A pre-trial hearing for Andrew Joseph Dikken, 28, of Renville took place Friday afternoon in Yellow Medicine County District Court.

Dikken is charged with six counts of first degree murder, including two counts of murder while committing burglary and two counts of murder while attempting to commit arson, in the shooting deaths of Kara Monson, 26, and Christopher Panitzke, 28.

Dikken allegedly entered Monson’s residence in Granite Falls in the early hours of Sept. 2 and shot Monson and Panitzke multiple times. Monson died at the scene, and Panitzke died several days later of complications from gunshot wounds.

Friday’s hearing was brief, and focused on preparations for trial. Attorney Robert Plesha, representing the State of Minnesota, said he didn’t anticipate changes to the prosecution’s witness list. The court gave defense attorney Stephen Ferrazzano until July 3 to present a list of defense witnesses. Judge Thomas Van Hon noted there had been no written objections filed to the results of a psychological evaluation on Dikken.

Van Hon said jury instructions would need to be filed by July 11. A motion in limine hearing was set for July 18. A motion in limine hearing is usually held to determine what evidence may be admitted in a trial.

Dikken’s criminal trial is set to begin Sept. 8.