A University of Montana student was slain when a homeowner discovered him trespassing. Diren Dede, a German exchange student, was not armed on April 27th when he found himself on the receiving end of several gunshots.
On Thursday, Markus Kaarma was sentenced to 70 years in prison, with no parole potential for at least 20 years. This means the now 30 year old won’t be free until he’s half a century old. In December a jury found him guilty of deliberate homicide after rejecting Kaarma’s contention that he fired his shotgun at the 17-year-old in self-defense.
According to three witnesses, Kaarma reportedly talked about shooting someone. “I’m sorry my actions caused the death of Mr. Dede,” Kaarma told the judge before learning his fate.
Kaarma’s attorneys hoped that the Castle Doctrine, which provides that someone can bear arms to protect their home, would help their case. Even pleas from Kaarma’s mother fell on deaf ears.
The severe sentence was issued by District Judge Ed McLean, who stated that Kaarma went on the far side of safeguarding his home that spring night. His final shot hit Dede in the head.
“You didn’t protect your residence, you went hunting,” McLean told him. The judge went on to comment that the shotgun was already loaded and that Kaarma demonstrated that he was angry with the world when he shot the young man. Furthermore, the judge discharged Kaarma’s assertion that he suffered from anti-social disorder and anxiety. “You pose too great a risk to society to be anywhere else but the Montana State Prison. Good luck to you, son,” McLean said.
According to reports, Kaarma stated that his home had been burglarized the prior week before the shooting. Dede was out with friends when he entered the garage door, deliberately left open, and tripped a motion detector.
Prosecutors alleged that Kaarma and his live-in girlfriend, Janelle Pflager, had left the garage door ajar with a handbag inside to catch the next trespasser. Plager, the mother of the couple’s 19-month-old son, referred to Kaarma as “the single most misunderstood person I have ever met. He didn’t want to kill anyone.”