MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Victim identifed Dikken as shooter before he died
GRANITE FALLS, Minn. -- Andrew Dikken, arrested Tuesday after eluding authorities for two weeks, entered the home of Kara Monson in Granite Falls sometime after 3 a.m. Sept. 2 and began shooting her and Chris Panitzke as they were sleeping, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.
The complaint, filed in Yellow Medicine County District Court, charges Dikken, 28, of Granite Falls, with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Monson, 26, of Granite Falls, and Panitzke, 28, of Redwood Falls.
Monson died at the scene, but Panitzke remained conscious and made the 911 call that summoned help. He told officers on the scene that Dikken had shot him and his girlfriend. He again identified Dikken as the assailant when questioned by another officer at Granite Falls Hospital, according to the complaint.
Panitzke was airlifted to a Minneapolis hospital, where he died Sept. 8.
The complaint alleges that within hours of the shooting, Monson had received text messages from Dikken, a former boyfriend. Investigators also learned that Dikken had sent a threatening message to one of Monson’s relatives indicating he was threatening Monson’s life, the complaint says.
Dikken was arrested Tuesday when he showed up at his parents' Renville home, and they immediately turned him in to the Renville County sheriff in Olivia.
He is scheduled for arraignment today in Granite Falls
The attorney for a former youth basketball coach said Wednesday that the preteen sisters who accused his client of sexually assaulting them in the summer of 2012 are jealous of each other, starved for attention and habitual liars who can’t be trusted.
But a St. Louis County jury didn’t buy it and found Wendell Greene, 37, guilty of having sexual contact with the sisters, who were 8 and 10 at the time.
The jury, deliberating for about three hours, found Greene guilty of three of four counts of criminal sexual conduct, including one count of the more serious first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second degree. He was found not guilty on another second-degree charge.
Greene, a former U.S. Marine and former member of the 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard, will be sentenced Nov. 4. He faces up to 12 years for the first-degree conviction under state sentencing guidelines.
In a separate case, Greene has been charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl during the summer of 2010. That case is expected to be tried later this year.
At his request, murder defendant Joshua Lee Littlewolf, who is serving as his own attorney, appeared before the jury Wednesday in handcuffs, leg shackles and orange jail attire.
After several outbursts Tuesday in Littlewolf’s trial on charges of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Joshua Olson in April 2012, prosecutor Nate Stumme made a motion to have Littlewolf restrained.
In a hearing before jurors entered the courtroom Wednesday, Judge Shaun Floerke said he had been considering the use of a stun belt on Littlewolf, under his clothing, rather than the visible restraints.
Littlewolf responded by saying he was Tasered once by multiple police officers and was still able to “beat the (expletive) out of two of them.” He told the judge that he would appear as he was dressed then.
“This is your decision. You have to live with it,” Floerke said before ordering law enforcement to put a stun belt on Littlewolf and leave him in his leg shackles and orange jail clothing.
The legal system tries to avoid a jury seeing defendants physically restrained because of the possible prejudicial effect it could have on the verdict.
Wednesday’s proceedings included testimony from a man who said Littlewolf bragged about the stabbing while they were in jail together.
A St. Paul police officer was injured when his squad car struck a median during a high-speed chase last (Wed) night and a metal road sign flew into the car through the open driver's side window and hit him in the face. Fortunately, the sign was slightly deflected when the air bag went off; still, the officer ended up with a one-and-a-half in gash under his eye. The officer was chasing a car that had been reported stolen when the pursuit entered the wrong lane of travel and the officer wiped out in the median to avoid colliding with oncoming cars. The chase was called off after the wreck, but police found the stolen car abandoned about fifteen minutes later, with items inside that led to the thief's identity. He was arrested shortly after at a St. Paul bar and the 45-year-old is expected to be charged with car theft and running from police.
Police have arrested a suspect in the death of a 46-year-old woman whose badly beaten body was discovered Tuesday morning behind a business in St. Louis Park. An employee called police, to report a body wrapped in bed sheets in a grassy area near the railroad tracks. Police later learned the victim, Nerissa Shaw of Minneapolis had been involved in a long and violent relationship with the suspect -- but refused to cooperate with police in four separate cases Richfield Police say the 54-year old Minneapolis man was on probation for violating a restraining order that specified no contact with Shaw. Charges of second degree murder are pending.
A construction worker was rescued yesterday (Wed) afternoon in downtown Rochester after the walls of a trench he was digging collapsed. Fire officials say the man was very lucky -- he was buried up to his shoulders, but co-workers were able to free him before first responders arrived. The man was checked out at the emergency room and is expected to be just fine.
A tanker truck carrying a full load of ethanol caught fire last (Wed) night in Roseville. Fire officials say the cab of the truck caught fire, but the woman driving it was able to get out safely. Although nobody was hurt, flames were seen shooting 20 to 30 feet in the air. The cause of the truck fire remains under investigation.
Officials are still assessing the damage, believed to be minor, after a fire broke out at Rochester Public Utilities' Silver Lake Power Plant early yesterday (Wed) morning. Rochester fire officials say a breaker caught fire at the plant, but crews were able to put out the fire on the first level pretty quickly. They did spend about an hour working to ventilate the smoke from the building. There is no damage estimate or suspected cause available yet.