Detective: Man Who Shot German Student Adjusted Aim - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Detective: Man Who Shot German Student Adjusted Aim

Posted: Updated:
By LISA BAUMANN
Associated Press

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - The lead detective who investigated the shooting of a German exchange student by a Montana man says it appears the man adjusted his aim before firing the shot that killed the 17-year-old.

Missoula police detective Guy Baker testified that the first three shots fired by Markus Kaarma were low and that they seemed to follow Diren Dede as Dede moved across Kaarma's garage.

Baker says Kaarma's fourth shot, striking Dede in the head, was aimed much higher.

Prosecutors at Kaarma's murder trial argue that after a previous burglary, Kaarma was intent on harming an intruder when he shot Dede on April 27.

Kaarma says he didn't know whether Dede was armed and had a right to use deadly force to defend his home under Montana law.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A Montana man on trial in the shooting death of a German exchange student said in a telephone call after the incident that he didn't know if the person he shot inside his garage was armed and that he panicked.

Markus Kaarma also referred to shooting victim Diren Dede, 17, as a "felon" for entering Kaarma's garage amid a rash of burglaries in Kaarma's Missoula neighborhood.

Over the objections of defense attorneys, prosecutors played recordings of telephone calls between Kaarma, who was in jail at the time, and his girlfriend Thursday. In them, Kaarma said he didn't know if Dede had a weapon inside Kaarma's garage in the early morning hours of April 27 and that he panicked.

"I heard him pick up something metal and that was it," he told his girlfriend, Janelle Pflager.

Kaarma fired four blasts from his shotgun into the garage. Dede died from a gunshot wound to the head.

At one point during the jail conversations, Kaarma asked his girlfriend to gather news accounts of the story.

"Let's not forget this kid who was killed was a felon, committing a crime in our house," Kaarma said. "Everyone should rejoice that our neighborhood is safer. (Expletive) idiots."

Prosecutors argue that Kaarma, whose home had been burglarized previously, was intent on harming an intruder before he shot Dede. They say he left his garage door partially open to lure someone inside.

Kaarma's attorneys say Montana's "stand your ground" law allowed him to use deadly force to defend his home.

A Missoula police detective testified Thursday that the case turned into a homicide probe when Kaarma's statements didn't match those of his girlfriend or a friend of Dede's who testified that Dede went into the garage that night.

Detective Richard Chrestensen said the three differed on whether Kaarma and Dede spoke before the shooting. He also said the shots fired by Kaarma seemed methodical rather than random.

Neighbors testified earlier this week that Pflager told them the couple planned to bait burglars into entering their garage so they could catch them. Pflager denied attempting to bait anyone, although she did leave a purse in the garage. The couple was alerted to an intruder that night by motion sensors.

Former exchange student Robby Pazmino, 19, of Quito, Ecuador, testified Tuesday that he and Dede had engaged in "garage-hopping," or sneaking into people's garages, on as many as five other occasions. He said he didn't think it was right, but that many students at their high school were doing it.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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