Man convicted in German student's death responds to lawsuit

AP News
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Posted: Mar 17, 2015 2:10 PM
Man convicted in German student's death responds to lawsuit

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man who is serving a 70-year prison sentence for killing a German exchange student in his garage last spring has denied any negligence in response to a lawsuit filed by the teen's family.

Markus Kaarma of Missoula also argued he was immune from civil damages because he was acting in defense of his house and family last April 27 when he shot 17-year-old Diren Dede.

Prosecutors alleged Kaarma, upset over recent burglaries, left his garage door partially open with a purse and other items inside to lure a would-be burglar.

He used the "castle doctrine" defense at trial, but was convicted of deliberate homicide. He must serve 20 years of his 70-years term before he'll be eligible for parole.

Dede's family last month sued Kaarma and his common-law wife, Janelle Pflager, seeking damages for medical and funeral costs, pain and suffering, and loss of future wages.

Pflager's response, filed Friday by attorney Scott Gratton, denies any negligence on her part and denied she had a duty to stop Kaarma from "trapping Diren Dede in the garage and then shooting the shotgun into the garage."

Both Kaarma and Pflager argue Dede was negligent for trespassing in their garage, and both seek a jury trial, the Missoulian reports (http://bit.ly/19vEzQS). Pflager asks for a trial outside Missoula County due to news coverage of the case.

Pflager's response argued Dede "assumed any and all risks associated with entering the garage at Janelle's residence."

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Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com