Markus Kaarma Opening Brief For Appeal Officially Filed With Montana Supreme Court [DOCUMENT]
Attorneys for convicted murderer Markus Kaarma have officially filed their opening brief for an appeal with the Montana Supreme Court, according to Nate Holloway of Paul Ryan and Associates.
According to the appeal filed on Monday, Holloway states there are five primary arguments as to why Kaarma's conviction in the murder of German exchange student Diren Dede should be overturned, and a new trial granted.
In brief, Holloway states the District Court erred by instructing the jury on justifiable use of force in defense of a person and declining to instruct the jury that burglary is a forcible felony, by denying Kaarma’s motions to change venue, by failing to remove juror, Hughes, for cause, and when—during the State’s case-in-chief—the State’s own witness opened the door to Kaarma’s alleged assault, and by admitting Detective Baker’s expert opinion—guised as lay testimony—on blood spatter, which was not previously disclosed.
Kaarma was sentenced on February 12, 2015 to 70 years in the Montana State Prison, with no possibility of parole for at least 20 years.
The trial was one of the most closely watched of any in Missoula history, after Kaarma fired a pump-action shotgun four times into his darkened garage in April of 2014, killing the 16 year-old Dede, and setting off a case that captured worldwide media attention. Kaarma is of Korean ancestry, the Dede's were originally from Turkey, but were living in Hamburg, Germany, and the shooting took place in Missoula, Montana, where Diren was an exchange student attending Big Sky High School. Dede's parents traveled to Missoula for the trial and sat just a few feet away from Kaarma's mother and his common-law wife Janelle Pflager.
Now retired Judge Ed McLean handed down his sentence after rejecting the defense team's request to set aside the verdict, and the issues they raised before sentencing make up he bulk of the motion of appeal to the Montana Supreme Court.
Holloway told KGVO News that he hopes that all the motions associated with the appeal will be filed and completed, and a decision handed down within the 2016 calendar year.