Montana Man May Have Been High When He
Shot Dead German Teen: Police
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[May 07, 2014]
By Laura Zuckerman
(Reuters) - A Montana homeowner may have
been high on marijuana or alcohol when he shot dead a German exchange
student in his garage in a case expected to test the state's "stand your
ground" self-defense law, prosecutors said in legal documents released
Markus Kaarma, a 29-year-old U.S. Forest Service firefighter,
fired his shotgun into his darkened garage in Missoula, Montana
after midnight on April 27, killing 17-year-old Diren Dede, a high
school student from Hamburg, Germany, police have said.
Kaarma "may have been impaired by alcohol, dangerous drugs, other
drugs, intoxicating substances or a combination of the above at the
time of the incident," a Missoula police detective said in a sworn
Kaarma will plead not guilty at an upcoming arraignment, his lawyer
Paul Ryan said.
Kaarma will invoke the state's so-called castle doctrine, which
among other things allows the use of force to defend against an
invasion of a home or structure if the person inside reasonably
believes it is necessary to prevent an assault.
A national debate on the use of force and "stand your ground" laws
has raged since the shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager
Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder in
July last year.
A search warrant obtained last month by Missoula police seeking a
vial of Kaarma's blood for testing shows authorities suspected
Kaarma was high on marijuana or alcohol when he shot and killed
An earlier authorized search of Kaarma's home revealed a glass jar
containing pot. A neighbor told police that Kaarma's wife said he
smoked pot in the garage and that marijuana and pipes used to smoke
it had been stolen there during a previous burglary, according to
legal documents filed by prosecutors.
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Kaarma's attorney Ryan declined on Tuesday to comment on those
allegations. Ryan said an exchange student from Ecuador who was at
the Kaarma home during the shooting told police that he and Dede
were behind a rash of Missoula garage burglaries.
Kaarma feared for his life and for the safety of his wife and their
10-month-old son when a male intruder later identified as Dede
entered the attached garage, and advanced toward the couple's
kitchen, Ryan said, adding a security camera taped the intruder.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Eric M.
Johnson and Michael Perry)
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