MISSOULA, Mont. - In a release Tuesday, the defense attorney for a Missoula man accused of killing a German exchange student claims law enforcement was warned a shooting would happen if burglaries didn't stop.
Paul Ryan announced that he and four other Missoula attorneys will represent Markus Kaarma, 29, who is charged with deliberate homicide for the death of 17-year-old Diren Dede.
The incident happened at Kaarma's home on April 27. Kaarma claims he feared for his life when Dede entered his garage. Prosecutors say he fired four shots, two of them hit Dede.
Kaarma's attorneys write that a transcript interview of Dede's companion, who was present that night, says he and Dede had entered into garages of Missoula homeowners on at least three or four separate occasions prior to the night of the shooting.
The release also says that one resident in the Prospect neighborhood had warned law enforcement that if they didn't stop the burglaries and break-ins that "someone was going to get shot."
In addition, the release says Kaarma denies he lured anyone into his garage. He claims the garage door was left open because he and his wife smoke cigarettes in the garage, and that the purse allegedly left in the garage was not visible from the driveway.
The attorneys say Kaarma will enter a not guilty plea when he is arraigned in Missoula County District Court.
"We intend to pursue all available legal options so that Markus will be exonerated of this charge, as we believe he defended his family and himself, against an unwanted intruder burglarizing his home," the statement says.
Click here to read the full release from the legal team.