December 11 2014

– Montana homeowner who killed a German exchange student in his garage repositioned himself to aim a fatal shotgun blast at the teenager, even though he later claimed it was too dark to see, a detective testified on Thursday in the man’s murder trial.

Markus Kaarma, 30, a former U.S. Forest Service firefighter, is charged with deliberate homicide in the April 27 death of 17-year-old Diren Dede of Hamburg, who had walked into the Missoula homeowner’s garage.

Kaarma has pleaded not guilty and defense lawyers say he acted to protect his family. The case is expected to test Montana’s version of a “Castle Doctrine” self-defense law, which allows deadly force if a person reasonably believes it necessary to guard against an assault.

Evidence from the scene indicated Dede was wounded by a shotgun blast to the arm and moved from one side of the garage to the other, taking cover behind a Buick with hunting equipment on top, Missoula police Detective Guy Baker said.

Baker testified in the week-old trial Kaarma could not have shot and struck Dede over that obstacle, and that he repositioned himself to deliver the fatal blast to Dede’s head.

– Lori Grannis


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