Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Kaarma Trial Begins With Dramatic Opening Arguments

Edward O'Brien

Opening arguments began in the Markus Kaarma case today in Missoula. Kaarma’s accused of murdering 17-year-old German exchange student, Diren Dede after the boy entered his garage late on the night of April 27.

The state’s 15-minute opening argument started with Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Clark reenacting a plea from Dede.

“NO NO NO NO PLEASE, that’s what Janelle said Darren was pleading right before he was shot, on April 27th, 2014."

The argument became even more dramatic, as Clark pulled out the large, black combat style shotgun they say Kaarma fired four times into his garage.

“He loads a shell, and he fires, (click), so he has to load another one, and he fires."
No one denies Kaarma shot and killed Dede. What the jury of must decide is whether the killing was a justifiable use of deadly force.

Clark insists that Kaarma was the aggressor and wasn’t acting in self-defense.

Lead defense attorney Paul Ryan said in his 90 minute opening argument that Kaarma was afraid for his family’s safety, and felt victimized by a burglary just days before the shooting. Using a large touch screen monitor, Ryan contends they were just one of the many victims targeted by a group of high-school aged thieves located in and around the Grant Creek neighborhood where Kaarma lived.

“We believe the evidence is gonna show that a burglary ring started within the Missoula community and it was running rampant," Ryan said.

Ryan also appeared to lay the groundwork for heavy criticism of the Missoula Police Department’s response to the burglaries and that authorities ignored Kaarma and his family’s repeated attempts to get help.

Witness testimony continues tomorrow and the trial is scheduled to last the next three weeks.

Related Content