Markus Kaarma Enters Not Guilty Plea in Death of Diren Dede [VIDEO] [AUDIO]
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Kaarma, dressed in a dark suit and accompanied by his girlfriend and their baby, sat calmly as Judge Ed McClean called him forward to face the felony charge. Kaarma stood, flanked by his attorney Paul Ryan and several associates, and said he was not guilty of deliberate homicide.
Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul asked Judge McClean to increase Kaarma’s bail.
“Your honor, when bail was set, it was set by a substitute justice of the peace who rarely handles cases of this magnitude,” Paul said. “We are asking that the court reset bail at $500,000. We believe this amount is more commensurate with the offense charged, and that it is necessary to protect the community’s safety.”
Judge McClean refused the state’s request, however, after making sure that Kaarma had removed all firearms from his home, did grant Paul’s request that Kaarma surrender his passport.
An omnibus hearing has been set for June 25.
Markus Kaarma Court Appearance
Following the arraignment, Karma and his family returned to their home while his attorney, Paul Ryan faced questions from reporters.
Ryan was asked if he was surprised that the state requested an increase in bail to $500,000. He said he was not surprised, only disappointed.
“We think the bond was set appropriately by the lower court and that the request by the county attorney’s office was in response to public sentiment, but there are two sides to this story,” Ryan said. “I think the judge made the right ruling in keeping the bond where it was. He’s followed every condition of his release, and I think it was an appropriate decision.”
Ryan was asked how long the legal process might take in a case of this magnitude.
“I hate to guess on those things,” Ryan said. “I don’t anticipate it’ll be this year, but probably sometime into next year and we’ll get a trial date, and we’ll follow the schedule as set forth by the judge.”
Kaarma Attorney Paul Ryan
Contacted after the arraignment, Deputy County Attorney Andrew Paul told KGVO News that he would have no comments for the press until after the trial was over, and the jury had decided the case.