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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Dikken appears in court, gas line tampering revealed

  • During the second court appearance of Andrew Dikken this past Thursday at the Yellow Medicine County Courthouse, prosecutor’s obtained an order to retrieve finger and palm prints as well as a DNA swab that might link the defendant to the scene of the crime.
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  • During the second court appearance of Andrew Dikken this past Thursday at the Yellow Medicine County Courthouse, prosecutor’s obtained an order to retrieve finger and palm prints as well as a DNA swab that might link the defendant to the scene of the crime.
    Dikken, 28, of Renville, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder for the Sept. 2 shootings of Kara Monson, 26, of Granite Falls and Chris Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls.
    According to a complaint report, Panitzke told police officers Dikken gained entry to the Monson household, turned on a light and opened fire on the pair as they still lay sleeping.
    Monson died at the scene while Panitzke passed several days later on Sept. 8.
    In obtaining the order the for prints and DNA from presiding District Judge Dwayne Knutsen, prosecutor Robert Plesha, with the state attorney general’s office, also revealed gas lines to the household had been cut.
    According to Yellow Medicine County Sheriff Bill Flaten, information about the gas line was kept out of the public record, so if the alleged assailant had not been captured, authorities would be able to refer to evidence not released to the public as a litmus test for whether a suspect was telling the truth down the road.
    “Law enforcement has to balance the public’s interest, with public safety and the case under investigation, and I think we hit the nail on the head,” ex-plained Flaten.
    Plesha told the judge they had hoped to check Dikken’s finger and palm prints against a tool left at the scene which is believed to have been used to sever the lines.
    In addition, the DNA would be compared against evidence re-trieved from cigarette butts, alleged to have been left at the scene by the defendant.
    There was no plea entered at Thursday’s hearing, and defense attorney Stephen Fer-razzano with the public defender’s office in-formed the court Dikken wished to waive his right to an omnibus hearing within 60 days.
    In effect, the act allows both prosecution and defense an extended period of time to review evidence before holding an omnibus hearing, which is typically used to determine the ad-missibility of evidence, including testimony and evidence seized at the time of arrest.
    At this point, the Yellow Medicine County attorney’s office is not going to comment on whether a grand jury would be convened, which would be required to bring forth a first degree murder indictment.
    Dikken remains in custody in the Yellow Medicine County jail on $3 million bail.
    The two second de-gree murder  charges carry maximum penalties of 40 years in prison.

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