Markus Kaarma of Missoula is charged with deliberate homicide
in the death of Diren Dede of Hamburg, who police said was
killed by shotgun blasts after entering Kaarma’s garage in what
appeared to be a search for alcohol.
German officials have expressed outrage at the killing and the
teen’s father suggested to a German news agency that U.S. gun
culture was partly to blame for his son’s death.
The case has renewed scrutiny of a Montana self-defense law
called the "Castle Doctrine" that allows the use of force to
defend against an invasion of a home or structure if a person
inside reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent an
A debate on the use of force permitted by stand-your-ground type
laws has raged in the United States and elsewhere since the
shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by
George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder last year.
On the night of the shooting in April, Dede and a fellow
exchange student from Ecuador were walking along a street when
Dede approached Kaarma’s garage looking for what the Ecuadorean
later told police was probably alcohol.
Motion sensors and a video monitor alerted Kaarma to Dede’s
presence. Prosecutors say the U.S. Forest Service firefighter
walked outside with a shotgun and fired into the darkened
garage, ultimately killing Dede.
Dede had been staying with a host family two houses away while
in Montana for a single school term.
Kaarma admitted to police he shot and killed the teen. His
attorney has said Kaarma feared for his life and for the safety
of his common law wife and their infant son when Dede entered
the attached garage and advanced toward the couple’s kitchen.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Mary
Wisniewski and Clarence Fernandez)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.