The extent to which householders in the US are justified in shooting intruders will be tested this week after the death of a 17-year-old exchange student.
Diren Dede, from Hamburg, was killed when he entered a garage at a house in Missoula, Montana, in search, said his friend, of alcohol or other substances.
He was shot dead in April by Markus Kaarma, a former firefighter, who fired four shots into the darkened garage after seeing a figure inside.
The defendant, who denies deliberate homicide, is accused by prosecutors of deliberately luring the teenager into the garage by placing a purse inside and leaving the doors partially open.
The night of the shooting, prosecutors claim, Mr Kaarma was watching a video monitor and grabbed his gun after seeing movement.
However, defence lawyers are expected to argue that the householder acted reasonably given he had been burgled three times in a short period before the shooting.
"Markus felt a high level of fear and anxiety for himself and his family due to the burglaries and lack of response from law enforcement," Paul Ryan, a lawyer acting for Mr Kaarma, said.
Defence lawyers have cited the ‘Castle Doctrine’ and said he was within his rights to defend his home, property and family from an intruder.
Robby Pazmino, an Ecuadorian exchange student, was a friend of Diren and told police they were “garage hopping”, an illegal activity in which they enter people’s garages in search of alcohol and other substances.
He told police investigating the shooting that he heard an unfamiliar voice say, "I see you there," before running away when the first shot was fired.
The authorities in Germany said earlier this year that they plan to carry out their own investigation. Officials from Germany are expected to attend the trial.Reuse content