Missoula County Coverage

Apr 28, 2014 7:12 PM by KPAX News Staff

Man accused in deadly Missoula shooting appears in court

(UPDATE 7:31PM) Markus Hendrik Kaarma was released after posting $30,000 bail, less than two hours after his initial court appearance.


MISSOULA - A fatal weekend shooting in Missoula has an impact locally - and half a world away.

A 17 year old suspected burglar - and popular foreign exchange student from Germany - is dead and a homeowner who allegedly shot him sits in jail.

The question now is whether the homeowner was protecting his property or was the dead teen set-up?

Markus Hendrik Kaarma, 29, made his initial appearance in Missoula County Justice Court on Monday afternoon, and has been charged with Felony Deliberate Homicide after the shooting in the Grant Creek neighborhood.

The charging affidavit states that Kaarma's home on Deer Canyon Court had recently been broken into twice, so he had security equipment installed. The documents say when he was alerted to an intruder in his garage early Sunday morning, he went outside with a shotgun.

Kaarma yelled into the garage, and his common-law-wife Janelle Pflager said someone responded either "hey" or "wait." Soon after, Kaarma fired four shots into the dark garage in a sweeping motion.

Diren Dede, who was a junior at Big Sky High School was hit in the head and arm and died a short time later at the hospital.

Kaarma told investigators he feared for his life. But in the charging document, Pflager says she placed a purse with personal belongings she had cataloged in the garage so the burglars would take it. She also left the garage door open.

Court papers also state that Kaarma told a hair stylist earlier that he had been waiting up to three nights to "shoot some bleeping kid."

Missoula attorney Paul Ryan, who is representing Kaarma, says his client will absolutely plead not guilty and will fight the charge all the way.

Ryan says Kaarma was defending himself, his wife and child, as well as his property. Ryan made reference to Montana's "Castle Doctrine," which allows a person to defend his home.

Dede was an All-State soccer player at Big Sky High School, and also competed in track. Monday was a scheduled day off in the Missoula County Public School District, but counselors were made available.

Click here to view the charging document (pdf), which does contain some foul language.

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