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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Double-homicide suspect offers to plead guilty

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. -- The man charged in a double homicide last month is offering to plead guilty to both counts of second-degree murder, according to a motion filed Wednesday in District Court.

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Andrew Joseph Dikken, 28, of Renville, is charged in the shooting deaths of Kara Monson, 26, of Granite Falls, and Christopher Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls. He is being held in the Yellow Medicine County Jail in Granite Falls on $3 million bail.

The criminal complaint alleges that Dikken entered Monson’s Granite Falls home early on Sept. 1 and shot her and Panitzke as they slept. Monson died at the scene, and Panitzke died Sept. 8 of complications from gunshot wounds.

If Dikken pleaded guilty to the two counts, he said in the motion that, under state sentencing guidelines, he expects to receive at least 632 months in prison, or 52½ years.

The prosecution recently filed a motion indicating it will ask the court to find “aggravating factors,’’ which would lead to a sentence greater than that called for by the guidelines. Each second-degree murder charge carries a maximum possible sentence of 40 years in prison.

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DULUTH -- A caregiver at a Duluth disability service facility has been terminated for the maltreatment of a vulnerable adult.

According to a Minnesota Department of Human Services report, a staff person at Duluth Regional Care Center took about $350 from the adult after promising to use the money to purchase an ATV.

The ATV eventually was received, but only after a guardian for the adult contacted law enforcement. The ATV was delivered April 15 but came without a title of ownership, the report said.

The guardian told investigators the adult was “clearly disabled” and was prone to letting others “talk (him/her) into things,” the report said.

The investigation concluded that there was substantiated maltreatment, but described it as “not serious or recurring.” Investigators were unable to contact the staff person through phone or mail during the investigation.

As a result of the investigation, the worker was disqualified from working with adults or youth receiving services from state-licensed facilities. No criminal charges were filed.

The report’s conclusions and the disqualification are both subject to appeal.

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WILLMAR, Minn. -- A jury trial for one of the three young men charged in the July 29 strangulation and stabbing death of an elderly woman is scheduled to begin March 25 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

The trial for Brok Nathaniel Junkermeier, 19, of Willmar, is scheduled to last three weeks before District Judge Donald Spilseth.

Junkermeier and Robert Warwick, 17, were indicted on first-degree murder charges in the killing of Lila Warwick, 79, and are being prosecuted by the attorney general’s office.

Robert Warwick, a grandson of Lila Warwick, was the alleged mastermind of the crime. Junkermeier is accused of entering the woman’s home on the east edge of Willmar and stabbing and strangling her after making her write him a check from her bank account.

Warwick and Junkermeier are being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $2 million bail.

The third teen charged in the case, Devon James Jenkins, 16, faces two second-degree murder charges as a juvenile. He has been in custody at Prairie Lakes Youth Detention Center in Willmar.

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