Attorneys For Convicted Murderer Markus Kaarma File Motion For New Trial – Cite Prejudicial Media Coverage [DOCUMENT]
Attorneys for convicted murderer Markus Kaarma have filed a motion in Missoula District Court asking for a new trial.
Associate with Paul Ryan, Nate Holloway, told KGVO News that such a motion must be filed with the court within 30 days following the conviction.
The affidavit filed with the court states that a new trial is requested 'in the interest of justice', and alternately, 'the defendant moves the court to modify or change the verdict by finding the defendant guilty of a lesser included offense, Mitigated Deliberate Homicide.'
The document states that 'the defendant was deprived of a fair trial because prejudicial, inflammatory media coverage so saturated the community that an impartial jury could not be drawn and a fair trial conducted. Over 450 case-related news items were disseminated and many of the stories were highly prejudicial. Indeed, even the defendant's inadmissible criminal history was published just weeks before the trial. Roughly 56 percent of the jury pool responded on their questionnaires that they had already formed an opinion on the defendant's guilt or innocence.'
Kaarma was convicted of deliberate homicide on December 17 in Missoula District Court before Judge Ed McLean in the shooting death of German exchange student Diren Dede. The case garnered world-wide interest, as it put to the test Montana's 'Stand Your Ground' or 'Castle Doctrine'.
Kaarma fired four shotgun blasts into his pitch-black garage, two of which struck the 17 year-old student from Hamburg, Germany who was attending Missoula's Big Sky High School at the time of his death on April 27.
Lead attorney Paul Ryan said less than an hour following the guilty verdict that an appeal was already in the works.
“Without a question there were plans even prior to the trial, because some of the decisions that were made including keeping the trial in this community, which is obviously very emotionally charged,” Ryan said. “There’s been a tremendous amount of media attention, much of it negative, and we feel there’s a number of appealable issues that the (Montana) Supreme Court will have to address.”
Ryan said the fact that District Judge Ed McLean denied not one, but two motions for a change of venue top the list of issues he plans to bring before a higher court.
“There’s also a number of other procedural things, so it would be hard for me to address each one under these circumstances, but there’s a number of things that happened that we believe were contrary to Montana law that need to be addressed and looked over by the Montana Supreme Court,” he said.
Lead attorney for the State, Deputy County Attorney Andrew Paul did not have a comment, telling KGVO News only that the appropriate response will be filed in District Court.
The motion for a new trial is attached.