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Alleged Kaarma Garage Burglar Appears in Justice Court [AUDIO]

Tristan Staber
photo by Peter Christian

One of the burglaries that eventually led to the shooting death of German exchange student Diren Dede occurred on April 17.

Tristan Staber Charging Documents

One of the suspects in that burglary appeared in Missoula Justice Court on Thursday, May 15. According to court documents, Tristan Staber, 18, and a juvenile companion were “car-hopping” that night in the Deer Canyon Court neighborhood, and noticed a garage door open at 2607 Deer Canyon Court.

The juvenile went into the garage and brought out a large glass bong, a jar of marijuana and an I-phone, then went back to the vehicles and stole credit cards and gift cards.

The court records went on to say that after the fatal shooting, a concerned citizen identified Staber and his companion as the suspects who burglarized the Kaarma’s garage.

Staber appeared before Acting Justice of the Peace Amy Blixt via video from the Missoula County Jail. Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg asked the judge for a high bail, since Staber was already on probation for a previous misdemeanor.

“The State is asking the court to set bail in this case at $10,000,” Van Valkenburg said. “We’d ask that all standard conditions apply, including no contact with his juvenile co-defendant, as well as no contact with Markus Kaarma or Janelle Phlager. He is already on juvenile supervision, so that’s why we’re asking for a bail of $10,000.”

Judge Blixt set bail at $10,000 and scheduled Staber’s next court appearance for May 29.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg

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Court records have indicated that it was previous thefts from Kaarma’s garage that led the couple to purchase motion detectors and place a video baby monitor inside the garage to alert them of an intruder.

On April 27, German exchange student Diren Dede entered Kaarma’s garage, setting off the motion detectors. Kaarma then fired four rounds from his shotgun into the darkened garage, killing Dede. He has been charged with deliberate homicide.

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