MISSOULA – A Missoula judge recently denied a request for a new trial for Markus Kaarma, who is spending 70-years in prison for the shotgun killing of a German foreign exchange student.
Judge Ed McLean issued the ruling on Friday, rejecting Kaarma’s latest legal moves in Missoula County District Court.
Kaarma argued that the defense team in his 2014 murder trial failed to give him effective counsel, with Kaarma’s attorneys trying to convince Judge McLean to start over.
Kaarma petitioned for post-conviction relief last September and his new legal counsel claims that his previous attorneys didn’t effectively establish his use of deadly force as an act of self-defense.
According to court documents, Judge McLean said in his ruling that, “Kaarma was not denied the right to effective counsel his trial and the appellate counsel’s performance was within the wide range of professionally competent assistance.”
Kaarma was convicted for killing 17-year-old German exchange student Diren Dede but had claimed that he shot Dede out of self-defense while the student was trespassing in his garage, reportedly looking for drugs and alcohol.
However, prosecutors argued Kaarma was setting up an ambush after a previous break-in, “baiting” and “luring” someone into his home. The original conviction has already been reviewed and upheld by the Montana Supreme Court.