MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge has tentatively set a Jan. 5 trial date for a 24-year-old Missoula man charged with shooting and killing a German exchange student in his garage.
District Judge Ed McLean said Wednesday Markus Kaarma's deliberate homicide trial could be moved to December if a larger courtroom became available sooner.
Kaarma is charged with shooting 17-year-old Diren Dede in May. Kaarma argues the shooting was in self-defense because Dede was in his garage.
The judge also told defense attorney Paul Ryan he should reconsider his firm's announced plan to host a community viewing of the World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany on Thursday, saying it was not the time to conduct a public relations campaign.
Dede was an avid soccer player.
After the hearing, Ryan announced he was canceling the viewing party.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
The Montana law firm representing a man charged with killing a German exchange student in his garage announced plans to host a live showing of the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Germany on Thursday morning.
Paul Ryan & Associates is representing Markus Kaarma, who is charged with shooting 17-year-old Diren Dede in May. Kaarma argues the shooting was in self-defense because the boy was in his garage.
Dede played soccer at Big Sky High School in Missoula and with a club team in Missoula. His former team in Hamburg played a charity match to help his family pay for Dede's funeral.
Ryan told the Missoulian (http://bit.ly/1o3btuh) on Tuesday the game's showing at a park has nothing to do with Kaarma's defense, and he's considering canceling it after realizing people might make that connection.
"Honestly, that didn't cross my mind," Ryan said. "We were just excited about the game and we wanted to provide this to the community. I hope it doesn't turn into something negative. It's just a weird timing of the two teams that match up. It doesn't have anything to do with our case. Hopefully, people can forget about those things and watch a soccer game. We just did it as a community event."
"This really was the idea of the girls in our office — they are so excited about the game," Ryan said.
Kaarma is charged with deliberate homicide in Dede's shooting death.
Prosecutors alleged Kaarma set a trap to catch whoever had been breaking into his garage after thieves took marijuana, credit cards and a cellphone. He told a hairdresser that he had been waiting up nights to shoot a kid because he was frustrated about the thefts while neighbors said he was behaving strangely in the hours before the shooting, court records said.
Two teens who had been arrested prior to the shooting later confessed to being responsible for the theft of the marijuana and other items, court records said. Those teens said Dede had nothing to do with the break-ins, court records said.
An omnibus hearing in Kaarma's case is scheduled for Wednesday.