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Trial Date for Markus Kaarma Moved Up to December

Markus Kaarma
photo courtesy of NBC Montana

The murder trial of Markus Kaarma, originally scheduled to begin on January 5, 2015 has now been moved up to begin in December of this year.

Attorneys for both sides worked together with District Judge Ed McClean to agree on a courtroom that would provide an earlier starting date for the trial, which will now be December 1.

Kaarma’s attorney Paul Ryan said this development was something that both the state and the defense were working towards.

“The judge had indicated during the hearing that they were going to attempt to get that additional setting in December,” Ryan said. “It all depended on the availability of a courtroom large enough to handle such a trial, and one came open, so it came as no surprise to either side, I think.” The trial will be held in Missoula District Courtroom number three, located in the Missoula County Courthouse.

Kaarma is charged with deliberate homicide for firing four shotgun blasts into his darkened garage early in the morning of April 27, two of which struck German exchange student Diren Dede, 17, as he was trespassing in Kaarma’s garage. Kaarma has entered a plea of not guilty, and is currently free on $30,000 bond.

The case has generated international publicity, since Dede was an exchange student from Hamburg, Germany, and there will be media representatives from all over the United States, as well as Europe. The international press is watching the case closely as it deals with the state of Montana’s “stand your ground” law, or what is also called the “Castle Doctrine.”

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