Teens confess burglaries before US shooting
MISSOULA, Montana (AP) — Two teens have confessed to burglarizing a residence, angering the homeowners in the weeks before a German exchange student was shot to death in the garage.
An amended affidavit filed by Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul this week said the 16- and 18-year-old told investigators they took two wallets with credit cards, an iPhone, marijuana and paraphernalia from Markus Kaarma’s garage or unlocked vehicles in the driveway. Their names have not been released.
Kaarma’s attorney, Paul Ryan, has said his client was the victim of multiple break-ins before the fatal encounter last month.
Prosecutors say Kaarma and his girlfriend, Janelle Pflager, set up motion sensors and a video feed to catch whoever was stealing from them and that Kaarma shot 17-year-old Diren Dede when the boy was spotted in the garage.
The teens, whose confession was included in the document filed Monday, denied any connection between themselves and Dede or another exchange student who was with Dede the night he was shot.
Kaarma, 29, is charged with deliberate homicide. Ryan has said Kaarma will plead not guilty and that he was defending his home and in fear for his life. An arraignment date has not been set.
After the motion sensors and video feed indicated someone was in the garage early on April 27, Kaarma said he grabbed his shotgun and went outside. The gun’s safety was engaged and Kaarma told investigators he had difficulty getting it disengaged because he was “full out panicked” by the situation, court records said.
He fired four shots into the darkened garage and thought he heard something fall, charging documents said.
“I never saw anybody with my own eyes until Janelle turned the lights on,” Kaarma said.
Dede was struck in the head and arm and died a short time later.