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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Dikken pre-trial hearing reveals new evidence

  • Portions of 911 call and police interview were used in the prosecution’s motion
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    A brief pre-trial hearing was held for Andrew Dikken on Friday afternoon in Yellow Medicine County District Court, where the focus was on preparations for the Sept. 8 trial.
    Defense Attorneys Stephen Ferrazzano  and Benjamin Pieh have until July 3 to present a list of defense witnesses and exhibit lists, as well as filing any motions seeking to use any defense other than a “not guilty” plea.
    The prosection, led by Attorney Robert Plesha, representing the State of Minnesota, and County Attorney Keith Helgeson, filed a motion to admit the 911 call and a recorded conversation with a police as evidence, both from victim Christopher Panitzke before he failed to regain consciousness and succumbed to his gunshot wounds six days later.
    The recently filed motion included statements from Panitzke that until then were not open to the public, which named “Andy Dikken” as the alleged perpetrator.
    “I’m dying here,” Panitzke told the dispatcher. “Andy Dikken. She was killed. Killed Kara and he shot me twice.”
    The purpose of the motion included a request that the evidence be included as an exception to the hearsay rule, as Panitzke is unable to be cross-examined in court. Minnesota Rules of Evidences states that a “declarant believe to be ‘impending death’ is admissible” as an exception.
    Dikken, 28, of Renville is charged with six counts of first degree murder in the Sept. 2 shooting deaths of Kara Monson, 26, and  Panitzke, 28. Dikken faces two counts of first-degree murder for premeditation, two counts of murder while committing the act of burglary and two counts of murder while committing or attempting to commit arson, as he allegedly tampered with the gas line.
    The prosecution had no amendments to the charges presented against the defense.
    Judge Thomas Van Hon reminded the defense that jury instructions would need to be filed by July 11. At the time of the pre-trial, Ferrazzano had not yet reviewed the prosecution’s jury list.
    Dikken’s lawyers had sought to raise a mental health defense. Van Hon noted that there were no written objections to the results of the February psychological evaluation on Dikken, which is not in the public record.
    The next pre-trial hearing is set for July 18 for a motion in limine, which establishes what evidence may be admitted in the Sept. 8 trial.
    The jury trial is scheduled for three weeks in front of Van Hon in the Yellow Medicine County District Court. If convicted, Dikken faces the possibility of life in prison.

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