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Search warrant: Missoula man may have been high when German student shot

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Markus Kaarma may have been under the influence of marijuana when he shot and killed German exchange student Diren Dede, according to a search warrant requested by Missoula police.

The search warrant also indicates that during previous burglaries of the Missoula home, unknown suspects had taken all the marijuana and marijuana pipes out of the garage.

Kaarma, 29, is charged with deliberate homicide for the shooting of the foreign exchange student, who was finishing his junior year abroad at Big Sky High School.

According to the affidavit, Kaarma and his wife, Janelle Pflager, had been robbed several times before and set the garage up to ensnare a potential burglar.

The garage door was intentionally left open and the couple set up a motion detector and a baby monitor in the space. A purse was also left in the garage.

In the early morning hours of April 27, Dede entered Kaarma’s open garage. Authorities have not indicated why Dede entered the garage, but once alerted to his presence, Kaarma grabbed a shotgun and exited the home. He fired four shots into the back of his garage, which was dark at the time.

Two of the shots hit and killed Dede, who was pronounced dead at St. Patrick Hospital.

According to the affidavit, Kaarma fired after the teenager attempted to make verbal contact with him. The affidavit also states that he told his hairdresser several days earlier that he had been staying up late at night to "kill some (expletive) kid."

Subsequent searches of the Grant Creek home revealed Kaarma kept a mason-style glass jar containing marijuana in a kitchen pantry, and a neighbor told police that Kaarma smoked marijuana in the garage.

A neighbor also informed police that burglars had taken marijuana and marijuana pipes out of the garage during the previous burglary.

A search warrant requested by Missoula Police Detective Dean Chrestenson and signed by District Court Judge Karen Townsend allowed law enforcement to take a blood sample from Kaarma on April 28, while he was in the Missoula County jail pending bail.

It's anticipated that the results of the blood draw will be available within a month.

On Tuesday, Kaarma's attorney said he is still investigating the allegation of marijuana use. Attorney Paul Ryan has indicated his client will plead not guilty.

Reporter Kathryn Haake can be reached at 523-5268 or at

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Related to this story

BERLIN — The father of a 17-year-old German exchange student shot dead in Missoula criticized the gun culture in the U.S. Thursday. "America cannot continue to play cowboy," Celal Dede told the German news agency dpa after arriving in the U.S. to arrange the transport of his son Diren's body back to Germany.

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