Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Montana: Search Warrant of Missoula Homeowner Produces Marijuana Seizure Day of Shooting

According to The Associated Press, authorities are looking into whether marijuana or alcohol played a role in the case of Montana homeowner Markus Kaarma, 29, an active duty firefighter, who has been accused of "mouse-trapping"and killing a German exchange student, 17, in his garage.

A newly published court document reveals Missoula police received a judge's permission to test whether homeowner Markus Kaarma was drunk or high when he shot and killed Diren Dede, 17.

Police found a jar of pot in Kaarma's home the day he shot the teen, a police statement accompanying an April 28 request for a search warrant said. Kaarma also might have had marijuana stolen from his garage during a previous burglary of his home, the document said.

Police believe Kaarma "may have been impaired by alcohol, dangerous drugs, other drugs, intoxicating substances or a combination of the above, at the time of the incident," the statement from Detective Dean Chrestenson said.

District Judge Karen Townsend granted the warrant to draw Kaarma's blood to test whether any traces of intoxicants remained in his system. The results of the blood test have not been revealed.

COMMENT: Concealing illegal drugs, particularly for an active duty firefighter employed by the US Forest Service, is sufficient causation for Kaarma to "bait" youths who may have discovered that marijuana was stored in the garage.

Kaarma's attorney, Paul Ryan, did not immediately return calls for comment in response to the allegations. In a statement to the media, Ryan said Dede and a companion had broken into garages at least three of four times before the April 27 shooting, and the neighborhood was on alert after a series of burglaries.

Kaarma, 29, is charged with deliberate homicide in the slaying of Dede, who was from Hamburg. Prosecutors allege Kaarma and his live-in girlfriend set up sensors and a video monitor, then left their garage door open the night of the shooting.

Kaarma had been burglarized twice before, and told his hairdresser that he had stayed up for three nights waiting to shoot someone, prosecutors assert.

The search-warrant request says Kaarma's girlfriend, Janelle Pflager, told a neighbor that someone had taken all the marijuana and pot pipes out of the garage in a previous burglary.

Pflager also told the neighbor her boyfriend smokes marijuana in the garage. Police found a glass jar of marijuana in his pantry the day of the shooting, the search warrant revealed.

The night of the shooting, Kaarma and Pflager heard sensors activate and saw a figure in the garage on the video monitor, prosecutors said. 

Kaarma then took a shotgun out the front door and fired four shots into the dark garage, hitting Dede.

Diren Dede, 17, was unarmed. Authorities have declined to say what he was doing in the garage.
 
Ryan denied Kaarma lured anyone into his garage and said he left the door open to air it out after he and Pflager had been smoking cigarettes.

The next court hearing is scheduled for May 12.