Man convicted in German student's death settles lawsuit

AP News
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Posted: Jul 25, 2015 12:53 PM

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A man who is serving a 70-year prison sentence for killing a German exchange student in his garage has settled a lawsuit filed by the victim's family, in part by surrendering all his guns to the boy's parents.

Markus Kaarma of Montana previously argued that he was immune from civil damages because he was acting in self-defense last year when he shot 17-year-old Diren Dede.

The parties in the civil suit reached an out-of-court settlement earlier this month, The Missoulian newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/1D1qOqk).

The settlement stipulates that an undisclosed amount of money be paid to the Dede family and all firearms be removed from Kaarma's home.

The amount the Dede family received isn't listed in court documents, but the family's attorney, David Paoli, said it included money from Kaarma's homeowners insurance policy, car insurance and a monetary amount paid by his mother, Chong Oak Kaarma.

"I think it was very important for the family to help them through all of this, to do what they could do legally," Paoli said. "I appreciate that we were able to do that for them and do it with some expedience."

The Dedes requested the full $500,000 policy limit available from the homeowners insurance.

Kaarma's attorney could not be reached for comment Friday.

The shotgun that killed Dede is not one of the weapons involved. The murder weapon must be kept by the Missoula Police Department as evidence until Kaarma's appeal to the Montana Supreme Court is complete.

Attorney Nate Holloway, who is working on Kaarma's appeal, said he won't file the appeal until sometime this fall.

Paoli said he's not sure what the Dede family intends to do with the guns.

"We just need to secure them and then the family will make decisions on what happens," he said.

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. The shooting prompted outrage in Germany and debate in the U.S. over so-called stand-your-ground laws that grant self-defense protections to people who are armed.

Kaarma claimed self-defense under Montana's version of a stand-your-ground law at trial, but he was convicted of deliberate homicide. He must serve 20 years of his 70-year term before he'll be eligible for parole.

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