Judge schedules January trial in Kaarma case


MISSOULA, Mont. - A Missoula County District Court judge has scheduled a January trial for a man who shot a killed a German exchange student.

In court Wednesday, Judge Ed McLean tentatively set the trail to begin January 5 for Markus Kaarma. Kaarma's defense asked for a December date but McLean doesn't think that will happen based on the scheduling of other judges.

Kaarma faces a deliberate homicide charge for the April 27 death of German exchange student Diren Dede, 17.

Prosecutors say Kaarma baited the teen and warned community members he wanted to shoot some kids after his garage had been broken into on two other instances.

Kaarma claims he was scared for his life when Dede entered his garage early that Sunday morning. He fired several shots into the dark garage.

In addition to setting a trial date, Judge McLean warned Kaarma's lead defense attorney Paul Ryan about an event he had planned. Tuesday, Ryan's office issued a press release about hosting a World Cup viewing party. The law firm planned a community event for Thursday to provide a free viewing of the USA vs. Germany soccer match.

"I don't want any playing to the public we've got serious business at hand," McLean said. "It's not the time to run a public relations campaign, so knock it off."

After Wednesday's hearing Ryan released the following statement: "Due to the unintended consequences and reaction to our attempt to have a viewing party for the USA soccer match.  We are canceling the event scheduled for tomorrow.  We apologize for any emotional distress this may have caused to any members of this community.   We will continue to support many local charities in the future as we have in the past."

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