Montana man sentenced to 70 years in controversial killing of exchange student

Exchange student was shot in man’s garage

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The Independent US

A Montana man was sentenced to 70 years in prison on Thursday for killing an unarmed German exchange student who was in the man’s garage, in a case that tested the boundaries of the state’s self-defence law, Reuters reported.

Markuss Kaarma last year was convicted of killing 17-year-old Diren Dede, from Hamburg, in April. It is believed that Mr Dede was garage-hopping in the area, possibly looking for alcohol, when he was detected by motion sensors set up in Kaarma’s garage, Reuters reported.


The defence attempted to use Montana's so-called “castle doctrine” self-defence law that permits the use of deadly force in a home invasion if the person reasonably believes the force is necessary to prevent an assault.

Someone allegedly had broken into Kaarma’s house in the weeks before he shot Mr Dede, putting the man on edge, the defence said.

Prosecutors countered by saying that Kaarma voided his “castle doctrine” protections by installing motion sensors and baiting Mr Dede by putting a cash-filled purse in plain sight inside the garage. Witnesses claimed they had heard Kaarma talk about shooting an intruder in the days leading up to the deadly incident.

The prosecution also said that Kaarma cornered Mr Dede in the garage and shot him four times, pausing between the third and fourth shot, which was aimed at the boy’s head. They said these actions went above Kaarma’s right to protect himself and his house.

Kaarma was sentenced to 70 years out of a possible 100. He won’t be eligible for parole until 20 years of his sentence have passed.


Follow Payton Guion on Twitter @PaytonGuion.