Montana man gets 70 years for fatal shooting of German student | News | DW | 12.02.2015
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Montana man gets 70 years for fatal shooting of German student

A US court has sentenced the man who killed a German exchange student to 70 years in jail. The American man was convicted of the crime late last year.

The court in the town of Missoula in the western US state of Montana sentenced Markus Kaarma to 70 years in jail for shooting dead 17-year-old German exchange student Diren Dede in April of last year.

Under the sentence, Kaarma, 30, who was convicted back in December of the charge of deliberate homicide, will not be eligible for parole for the first 20 years of his sentence.

Witnesses in the case testified that Kaarma fired at the unarmed German student four times after discovering him in his garage.

Earlier on Thursday, Kaarma's defense lawyer appealed to District Judge Ed McLean to order a retrial. After hearing from both sides, the judge turned down the request. The judge also heard appeals for leniency for Kaarma from the convict's mother and girlfriend before handing down the sentence.

"You pose too great a risk to society to be anywhere else but the Montana State Prison," Judge McLean told Kaarma. "You didn't protect your residence - you went hunting," McLean added. "You wanted to kill a kid for stealing canned beer."

During the trial, Kaarma's lawyers argued that he had shot Dede out of fear for his life. The prosecution argued that he had been intent on shooting an intruder, after his garage had been burglarized at least once in the weeks leading up to the incident. Three witnesses testified that they had heard Kaarma say that he had been staying up late into the night to shoot an intruder.

'My son is dead'

After the sentence was handed down on Thursday, the German student's father, Celal Dede, who along with the boy's mother, attended the entire trial, said the sentence had done little to ease their pain.

"It is justice. I am not happy. My son is dead," Dede said.

Kaarma told the judge that he was "sorry my actions caused the death of Mr. Dede."

His lawyers have said they intended to appeal Kaarma's conviction.

The incident caused an outcry in Germany and focused scrutiny on Montana's "castle doctrine," which allows residents to use deadly force to protect their homes and families. His defense lawyers argued, unsuccessfully, that this meant Kaarma had acted lawfully when he shot Dede.

pfd/rc (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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