Lawyers for a Missoula man convicted of killing a 17-year-old German exchange student have responded to the state's assertion that allowing a new trial would be a miscarriage of justice.
Attorneys said in a motion filed Friday in Missoula County District Court that Markus Kaarma and his family were prisoners in their own home before the trial because of an anti-defendant atmosphere created by the media. They said Kaarma has received death threats and that defense attorney Paul Ryan had a shot fired through a window in his home.
The attorneys also said the state failed to address how the media coverage cited by Kaarma was not inflammatory or prejudicial.
Kaarma's attorneys are seeking a new trial after a jury in December found him guilty of deliberate homicide. In that motion, they cite extensive news coverage of the case and argue that Kaarma should have been convicted of mitigated deliberate homicide, not deliberate homicide. They say Kaarma was defending himself in April when he shot Diren Dede while he was looking for alcohol in Kaarma's garage.
Ryan called the response they filed "pretty standard" and said a hearing on the motion for a new trial has been set for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 12, before the sentencing hearing at 9 a.m. He expects he and other defense attorneys could present supporting evidence for the motion during that time and that District Judge Ed McLean could rule on the motion.
Kaarma faces a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 100.