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Forum News Service, Published February 14 2014

Mental health defense raised in Granite Falls double homicide

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — Attorneys for Andrew Dikken are seeking a mental health defense in his upcoming trial on first-degree murder charges in the September slaying of his former girlfriend and another man.

Dikken is accused of shooting and killing Kara Monson, 26, of Granite Falls, and Christopher Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls, as they slept in Monson’s home Sept. 2.

Defense attorneys asked District Judge Thomas Van Hon on Friday to order a mental health evaluation for Dikken. The judge approved the request.

Dikken, 28, of Renville, is being held in the Yellow Medicine County Jail on charges including 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. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder.

Attorneys indicated at the hearing that a trial would likely be held in September, and that they are asking the court to reserve a three-week time period for it.