Prosecutors Oppose Change of Venue for Trial of Markus Kaarma [AUDIO]
While defense attorneys want the trial of Markus Kaarma to be held outside of Missoula, county prosecutors want it to stay right here.
Kaarma, who lives in the Grant Creek area, was charged with deliberate homicide in the death of Diren Dede, the 17 year-old German exchange student who Kaarma confronted in his darkened garage early in the morning on April 30. Kaarma fired a shotgun four times, striking Dede twice, killing him.
There has been world-wide coverage of the incident, with media representatives coming from Dede’s home country of Germany, the New York Times, Huffington Post, and all the major TV news networks. Kaarma’s defense team told the judge that a ‘media frenzy’ in Missoula has tainted the potential jury pool.
Chief Deputy Missoula County Jennifer Clark disagrees, and said the state’s motion to Judge Ed McLean asks him to leave the trial in Missoula county.
“They filed a motion to have the trial moved, and we then filed a response to their motion in opposition,” Clark said. “They will have an opportunity to reply to that, and then the judge will make a decision. We argued in our motion that the trial should be held here in Missoula County because this is where the offense occurred. The law states that’s the proper jurisdiction and venue for the trial.”
Clark said it is unusual for a trial to be moved, however there is precedent for the judge to consider. The trial of Anthony St. Dennis, who was accused of deliberate homicide in the death of Forest Salcido in 2010, was moved out of Missoula to Hill County.
Clark said if the trial is moved, both the prosecution and defense would have to relocate to that venue for the duration of the trial.
Kaarma’s trial is currently scheduled to begin in December in Missoula District court.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Clark