Two vastly different versions emerged in Missoula Justice Court on how German exchange student Diren Dede, 17, was shot to death early in the morning on April 27 in a garage on Deer Canyon Court.

Court documents filed by Missoula Deputy County Attorney Andrew Paul tell of a very angry and belligerent suspect, Markus Kaarma, 29, who told a hair stylist at a local salon that "I'm just waiting to shoot some (expletive) kid." And that he had been waiting up for three straight nights with his shotgun to "shoot some (expletive) kid." Kaarma said his home had been robbed at least two times before the fatal shooting.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul

The court documents state that Kaarma and his wife Janelle Pflager and their young child were in their home when motion sensors they had installed went off, indicating that someone was in their garage. The affidavit stated that the garage door had been left open deliberately, and that Ms. Pflager had left a purse in the car specifically "so that they would take it".

Kaarma then went outside with his shotgun and fired four times into the darkened garage, striking Dede and causing fatal wounds to his head and shoulder.

Paul Ryan
photo by Peter Christian

Following Kaarma's court appearance via video from the Missoula County Jail, his attorney, Paul Ryan, held an impromptu press conference outside the courtroom. Ryan said Kaarma and Pflager's home had been broken into several times, with numerous items stolen. He said they notified law enforcement, but did not receive much attention. Ryan indicated that the Castle Doctrine applied to this case, because Kaarma felt his life and the life of his wife and baby were threatened by the break-in.

"What the Castle Doctrine lays forth is when you feel there's a forcible felony that's occurring within your residence, and the garage includes your residence,that you're able to defend yourself," Ryan said. "With the Castle Doctrine, you take the shooter's subjective view of what you're trying to do. It's not whether you were wrong or right, but with the circumstances at the time what he was dealing with. It's incredibly important to note they had been robbed before. There's been some comment that the garage door was left open and was enticing. That's like saying the bank has a lot of money and that's enticing to a robber. They made it clear to their neighbors that if they were robbed again, something would be done."

Ryan said following the shooting, Ms. Pflager, who is a first responder, attempted to provide first aid to the mortally wounded Dede.

"Janelle comforted him, and did what she could to revive him," Ryan said. "She had blood all over her, and there was blood everywhere, brain and bone fragments all over the floor. The family felt there was no other option. They feel devastated that a young man's life was taken, and Mr. Kaarma was in tears when I visited his home."

Missoula Attorney Paul Ryan

Kaarma was placed in jail on $30,000 bond, even though the county attorney's office requested a bail amount of $100,000. Kaarma's case will now go to district court, where Ryan says he will plead not guilty to a  charge of deliberate homicide.


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