Suspect in German student death has criminal past

AP News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2014 5:52 PM
Suspect in German student death has criminal past

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A man charged with shooting and killing a German exchange student in his garage has a criminal record in Seattle and Missoula, and has been ordered to undergo a pretrial psychiatric evaluation.

District Judge Ed McLean said Markus Kaarma must submit to the evaluation no later than Nov. 28.

Kaarma has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide in the April 27 death of Diren Dede, 17, of Hamburg. Kaarma's trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 1.

Court records show Kaarma pleaded guilty in 2003 to an assault charge in Seattle Municipal Court and received a deferred sentence. Kaarma was also charged with two criminal offenses in Missoula Municipal Court in 2005, according to The Missoulian (http://bit.ly/1A8dGMS ). Court officials have refused to release records for those cases.

One of Kaarma's attorneys previously filed a motion to seal pretrial proceedings to conceal Kaarma's past record. The motion was granted.

Paul Ryan, Kaarma's attorney, said because pretrial proceedings have been sealed he is prohibited from commenting on Kaarma's past.

"The judge made a ruling on any prior bad acts and he did this in a sealed hearing," Ryan said. "He precluded either side from having comment on it or about talking about certain evidence in the trial."

Prosecutors allege Kaarma and his girlfriend were frustrated over recent burglaries at their house and set up motion sensors and video cameras to try to catch the thieves.

Defense attorneys argue Kaarma was protecting his home and family when he fired the shots into his garage.