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Prosecutors seek first-degree murder charges in Granite Falls slayings

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A Yellow Medicine County District Court judge refused to hear a plea from the man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend until after a grand jury convenes.

The West Central Tribune reports 28-year-old Andrew Joseph Dikken of Granite Falls offered to plead guilty to two separate counts of second-degree murder with the intention of receiving a sentence of 52 1/2 years in prison.

But the hearing Wednesday morning was cut short when prosecutors told Judge Thomas Van Hon that the state is seeking first-degree murder indictments via a grand jury.

First-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, the newspaper noted.

Dikken was charged in the shooting deaths of 26-year-old Kara Monson of Granite Falls and 28-year-old Christopher Panitzke of Redwood Falls.

According to the criminal complaint, Dikken allegedly entered Monson's home during the early morning hours of Labor Day, flipped on the lights in the bedroom where the couple was sleeping and started shooting.

Dikken was sought by police for two weeks after the slayings before he was arrested last month.

He remains jailed on $3 million bail.

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