May 21, 2014 1:08 PM by MTN News - Missoula

Kaarma pleads not guilty in shooting death of German student

MISSOULA - Markus Kaarma, charged with deliberate homicide in the April 27 shooting death of German exchange student Diren Dede in Missoula, pleaded not guilty during a Wednesday morning appearance in Missoula District Court.

Kaarma is accused of fatally shooting Dede, who was in the garage of Kaarma's Grant Creek-area home, apparently "garage hopping," and possibly looking for alcohol.

Kaarma has told authorities he was "full out panicked" by the situation, and that he fired blindly into his garage out of fear. He said it took one or two seconds to fire all four shots.

An autopsy report showed Dede was shot twice, and that a wound to the head was fatal.

The death sparked an international outcry with media from Germany descending on Missoula to follow the case.

The German government has said that they could prosecute Kaarma in connection with the shooting.

The German consul general in San Francisco sent a letter to Governor Steve Bullock stating that he has confidence in the ability of Missoula authorities to prosecute Kaarma under Montana laws, but he also suggested Missoula authorities may not have the final word.

"You might find it useful to know that German penal law also applies for crimes committed against German nationals abroad, enabling German state prosecutors to open investigations in such cases," Consul General Peter Rothen wrote April 30.

(April 28, 2014) Charging documents filed Monday allege that Markus Hendrik Kaarma and his common-law wife Janelle Pflager of Missoula "baited" 17-year-old foreign exchange student Diren Dede with a purse before shooting him in the head with a shotgun.

Kaarma, 29, made his initial appearance in Missoula County Justice Court on Monday, charged with deliberate homicide.

According to the charging affidavit, Kaarma's home on Deer Canyon Court had recently been broken into twice, so he had security equipment installed.

Click here to read the court document (PDF).

The documents state when he was alerted to an intruder in his garage early Sunday morning, he went outside with a shotgun.

Kaarma reportedly yelled into the garage, and Pflager said someone responded either "hey" or "wait."

Soon after, Kaarma fired four shots into the dark garage in a sweeping motion.

Dede, a junior at Big Sky High School, was hit in the head and arm; he died a short time later at the hospital.

Kaarma told investigators he feared for his life.

But according to the charging document, Pflager said she placed a purse with personal belongings she had cataloged in the garage so the burglars would take it, and she also left the garage door open.

In addition, the document states Kaarma told a hair-stylist earlier that he had been waiting up to three nights to "shoot some 'bleeping' kid."


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