Kaarma Trial Date Set – Attorney Sponsored World Cup Soccer Match Viewing Party Cancelled [AUDIO]
The deliberate homicide trial of Markus Kaarma has been set for January 5, 2015 in Missoula District Court.
During an omnibus hearing on Wednesday morning with prosecutors and the legal team representing Kaarma, Judge Ed McClain set the date for the trial, nearly nine months after German exchange student Diren Dede was shot to death inside Kaarma's garage. Kaarma has entered a plea of not guilty, and is currently free on $30,000 bond.
Kaarma's attorney Paul Ryan said that nine months is not an unusual amount of time to prepare for a trial involving capital charges.
"I think that's very consistent with any other case similar to this, Ryan said. "It's neither too quick, nor too extended out. It gives everyone a chance to investigate, examine the case and be prepared as it proceeds to trial."
Ryan confirmed that the case would be heard in District Court in Missoula, rather than at some other venue in the state.
In addition, Ryan said Judge McClean specifically did not want any attempts by either side to garner publicity prior to the trial. Ryan said that was not his intent when he was approached to sponsor a World Cup soccer viewing party for Thursday's match between Germany and the USA.
"I think it's just circumstantial that the two teams that happen to be playing have a connection to the fact that we have a German exchange student that was killed, and certainly, that wasn't what we were attempting to do," Ryan said. "Of course, the event is now cancelled, and we don't want to create any issues. That being said, we've supported many charities and events in the past at our firm. We've supported the Missoula Osprey, Big Brothers and Sisters and the Missoula Mavericks, and we'll continue to do that. In fact, we just sponsored the Red White and Brew Fest last weekend in Caras Park, so it's just part of our way to support the community."
Dede was shot by Kaarma as he was allegedly "garage hopping" early in the morning of Sunday, April 27. Court documents state that Kaarma fired his shotgun four times into the darkened garage and that Dede was struck twice, once in the head. The Missoula Counthy Attorney's office charged Kaarma with deliberate homicide, while Kaarma's attorney, Paul Ryan, maintained that Kaarma was legally defending his home.
The incident sparked headlines all over the world, since Dede was an exchange student from Hamburg, Germany, whose host family lived just up the street from where the fatal shooting took place. The incident has sparked debates over such issues as gun control and what is called "The Castle Doctrine".
The trial will be before District Judge Ed McClain in Missoula District Court starting on January 5.
Markus Kaarma Attorney Paul Ryan