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Forum News Service, Published October 30 2013

Prosecutor rejects plea deal in Granite Falls double-murder case

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — The prosecutor in the case against the man charged with killing two people last month in Granite Falls will not accept a plea in the case.

Prosecutor Robert Plesha, with the state attorney general’s office, on Wednesday refused to accept Andrew Joseph Dikken’s plea to second-degree murder charges.

Plesha said during a hearing in Yellow Medicine County District Court that he would convene a grand jury and seek first-degree murder charges for the shooting deaths of Kara Monson, 26, of Granite Falls, and Christopher Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls. Under state law, only a grand jury can bring first-degree charges, which are punishable by life in prison.

Dikken, 28, of Renville, had offered to plead to the two second-degree charges with the expectation of receiving a sentence of 52½ years in prison.

Dikken is accused of entering Monson’s home her and her boyfriend Panitzke as they slept. Monson and Dikken had a past relationship.

Dikken is in the Yellow Medicine County Jail in Granite Falls on $3 million bail. He was the focus of a two-week manhunt after the shooting. He has been in custody since Sept. 17 when his parents turned him into authorities.