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MT man charged after killing teen lured into garage by burglar trap

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A Montana man was charged Monday with deliberate homicide in the shooting death of a teenage German exchange student in his garage.

Police said Markus Kaarma was upset that his home had been burglarized twice in recent weeks, and he told a stylist Wednesday at Great Clips that he’d been up three nights in a row waiting for another break-in.

“I’m just waiting to shoot some f—ing kid,” he told the stylist, according to police, who were called to the salon because Kaarma refused to stop swearing and acting belligerently.

According to investigators, he shot and killed 17-year-old Diren Dede, who had been attending Big Sky High School in Missoula, inside his home early Sunday.

The 29-year-old Kaarma and his wife, Janelle Pflagler, set a trap in the garage by leaving her purse sitting in plain view with the garage door open.

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The couple had catalogued all the items inside the purse “so they would take it,” police said, and set up a live-streaming baby monitor and motion detectors.

One of those motion detectors was triggered shortly after midnight Sunday, and Kaarma went outside to investigate.

He walked out the front door to the driveway, police said, where he heard sound in the garage but could not see inside.

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Kaarma fired four shots into the garage, three low and four high in a wide sweep, and told his wife to call 911.

Then he fired four more shells into the garage after hearing a man yell, “Hey.”

“He stated he thought he was going to die and that the guy would try to get out of the garage and described thinking he could act like a caged animal,” police said in court documents. “He assumed that he had a knife or a tool from the garage, however, he could not be sure because the garage was pitch dark and couldn’t see anything inside. He stated he didn’t want the male to get away and that he wanted him to be caught.”

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Another man with Dede fled afterward, and police said they have identified and questioned him.

Police aren’t sure why Dede and the second man were in the garage, but the case remains under investigation.

Under Montana’s “castle doctrine” law, a person is justified in using deadly force if they have a reasonable belief that force is necessary to prevent an assault on themselves or another member of the household.

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Another Montana man shot and wounded a 19-year-old houseguest about two hours earlier in Billings after mistaking the seminary student for an intruder.

The cases are not otherwise related.

[Image: A smoking 12 bore shotgun having ejected spent a cartridge by Max Earey via Shutterstock via Shutterstock]


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