Hearing reveals that gas lines at Monson household had been cut
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 September 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 that 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 September 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 that gas lines to the household had been cut.
According to YMC Sheriff Bill Flaten, information about the gas line was kept out of the public record so that 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 further 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,” said Flaten.
Plesha told the judge that they had hoped to check Dikken’s finger and palm prints against a tool left at the scene that had believed to have been used to sever the lines. In addition, the DNA would be compared against evidence retrieved 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 Ferrazzano with the Public Defender’s Office informed the court that Dikken wished to waive his right to an omnibus hearing within 60 days. In effect, the act will allow both prosecution and defense an extended period of time to review evidence before holding an Omnibus Hearing, which is typically used to determine the admissibility of evidence, including testimony and evidence seized at the time of arrest.
At this point, the YMC Attorney’s Office will not comment 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 YMC Jail on $3 million bail. The two second degree murder carry maximum penalties of 40 years in prison.