Audio of Calls Between Markus Kaarma and Janelle Pflager After the Shooting of Diren Dede Played in Courtroom
***WARNING...AUDIO CONTAINS COARSE LANGUAGE****
The Markus Kaarma trial continued Thursday afternoon with testimony from Missoula Police Detective Stacey Lear, who brought audio of calls between Markus Kaarma and Janelle Pflager while he was held in jail.
Lear's testimony began around 11 a.m. at the Missoula County Courthouse as State Prosecutor Painter clarifies Lear's background in the force, familiarity with the Grant Creek area and what she was trained to do when she was appointed to detective.
Although she said she had only been to the Grant Creek area twice, Lear was requested by Detective Baker to join Detective Lang on the scene at the Kaarma residence as a supervisor.
"My role was canvassing for potential witnesses," Lear said. "So I went door to door around the neighborhood with flyers to other residences to see if anyone had any information about the event that took place on April 27."
Lear pointed out that for the most part, any two people who witness the same event will have only minor differences in their observations. However, their observations are still considered relevant. "Some residents said they were asleep when the shooting took place, some said they were awakened with things they had previously heard, some heard the actual shots, some heard the pause after the shots," she said.
Aside from canvassing the neighborhood and interviewing residents in the Deer Canyon Court area, Lear also monitored phone calls between Kaarma and Janelle Pflager in the Missoula County Detention Facility.
"Often people talk about the incident or an issue in the case and we also found that to be true with Markus Kaarma and Janelle Pflager," she said.
Lear said she collected around three to four hours of phone calls and footage.
***WARNING...AUDIO CONTAINS COARSE LANGUAGE*****
"Our job is to find the facts," Lear said. "We decide if the information given is pertinent. After that, we figure out if the information given is relevant and establishes guilt, or removes guilt. It reveals a state of mind."
Lear said based on other justifiable use of force cases she has worked before, no other evidence is more important than a statement from the person who used force.
The state turned to play the phone calls brought forth by the Missoula Police Department and the first call began with a statement from Kaarma.
"I'm kind of f**ked now because I cooperated," he said to Pflager who was on the other line.
Lear said suspects and people on the other end of the line are warned that calls may be monitored in jail.
"This is so weird," Kaarma said to Pflager. "I can't believe this is happening."
"I know," Pflager said. "Do not say another word."
Pflager, having only lived in Montana for a short time prior to the shooting of 17-year-old exchange student Diren Dede, had researched the Castle Doctrine.
"I do not know how they can call this a deliberate homicide," Kaarma said. "This was my house. The Castle Doctrine is my perception and not anyone else's. I'm justified by the doctrine."
"The thing is Montana does not have murder one, two, three, four," Pflager said. "I've only been in Montana for a year, but it's kind of a big gun state. So if you're running around in other people's houses, nine out of 10 people have guns in those houses. That was a risk you chose to take."
"We were taking precautions we needed to take," Pflager continued. "You were protecting me and our son. At the end of the day, some people think it's wrong, some people think it's right, and at the end of the day, it sucks. It just sucks."
Asked about what she had heard during the shooting, Pflager said "I heard him yell something at you but I don't know what."
By 11:25 a.m. the phone calls were wrapping up from the prosecution.
"I'm to the point where I'm realizing how mentally f**ked we are," Kaarma said. "All I know and all I saw...He could have had an RPG with him for all I know."
"Let's not forget, he was committing a felony crime in our house," Kaarma said. "It doesn't matter if he was a 17-year-old kid, this was a felony."
Pflager told Kaarma that she doesn't want to live in the house anymore and added that people don't want to even be around the neighborhood in which their house resides.
"We can't sleep, we always feel like we're being watched," Pflager said.
Pflager assured Kaarma that an online post about the shooting had already been posted and all of the comments seemed to be in his favor. Kaarma told her to buy 100 copies of the paper and DVR the local news for him.
Kaarma told Pflager that she should see the looks on other inmates faces when he told them he was in for homicide, adding that there are no other murderers in there.
At one point, Kaarma said "well, at least the burglaries are over, huh?"
The phone call evidence ended at 11:30 a.m., the defense had no questions for Lear, and she was excused.