Judge denies motion to change venue in Kaarma case


MISSOULA, Mont. - A Missoula County District Court judge has denied a request to change the venue for the trial of a man charged with deliberate homicide.

In a ruling filed last week, Judge Ed McLean wrote, "Regardless there has been no public outcry, campaigns to remove judges, angry mobs marching on the courthouse, biased statements by county attorneys and other individuals" involved in the Markus Kaarma case.

Kaarma is charged with deliberate homicide for the April shooting death of German exchange student Diren Dede. He claims he was scared for his life when Dede entered his garage. 

Prosecutors say Kaarma baited the teen to his garage after previous break-ins.

Kaarma's defense team asked for a change of venue in the case.  Attorney Katie Lacny filed 208 pages explaining why.

"Both the community outcry and media coverage surrounding this matter have created a bias against Markus Kaarma that cannot be overcome in Missoula County," she wrote.

Missoula Chief Criminal Deputy County Attorney Jennifer Clark asked McLean to deny the motion.

The defense also filed an unopposed motion asking that court documents be sealed from the public and the media. McLean has not ruled on that request.

A trial is set for December.

Click here to read the judge's order.

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