SW Minn. slaying suspect plans mental-health defensePublished 9:15am Monday, February 17, 2014
GRANITE FALLS — Lawyers for the southwestern Minnesota man accused of fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend in September said they plan to raise a mental-health defense when his trial begins later this year.
Defense attorneys Stephen Ferrazzano and Benjamin Pieh asked a Yellow Medicine County judge to order a mental-health evaluation for their client, 28-year-old Andrew Dikken of Renville. District Judge Thomas Van Hon approved the request after prosecutors didn’t object.
Dikken sat quietly through the hearing and didn’t acknowledge the dozens of relatives of the victims.
Dikken is accused of killing Kara Monson, 26, of Granite Falls and Christopher Panitzke, 28 of Redwood Falls on Sept. 2. Monson died at the scene but Panitzke identified the shooter before dying six days later, prosecutors said.
Dikken was arrested after a two-week manhunt.
He’s charged with two counts of first-degree murder for premeditation, two counts for murder while committing the act of burglary and two counts of murder while committing or attempting to commit arson. If convicted of first-degree murder, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The trial is likely to begin in September and is expected to last three weeks.