State of Montana versus Markus Kaarma summary:
Below is a summary timeline of the Markus Kaarma case involving the death of foreign exchange student Diren Dede
5/12/14 Felony Information filed in District Court charging Markus Kaarma with one Count of Deliberate Homicide (Murder). Case was initially issued to District Court Judge John Larson. Deputy County Attorney Andrew Paul filed the charging paperwork and is the first chair counsel for the State of Montana prosecuting the case. The case is filed as Cause Number DC-14-252
The charging document goes into great detail listing the facts alleged to support a charge of deliberate homicide involving an incident on April 27, 2014 where Markus Kaarma is alleged to have shot and killed foreign exchange student, Diren Dede from Germany. The potential sentence for a conviction of Deliberate Homicide is life in prison. The charging documents also place a sentence enhancement of an additional 2-10 years for the use of a weapon in the commission of the crime. The State’s Information lists 56 witnesses for the State of Montana’s case.
5/12/14 Markus Kaarma’s attorneys file their notice of appearance with the court. In addition to several associate attorneys, the Kaarma defense team consists of several private defense attorneys from different law firms, including main counsel, Paul Ryan, Brian C. Smith, Katie Lacny and Lisa Kauffman. The Kaarma defense team files a Motion to substitute Judge Larson on this date so that another judge will be selected to preside over the case.
5/20/14 Missoula District Court Judge Ed McLean is assigned the criminal case from Judge Larson.
5/21/14 Kaarma has his Arraignment before Judge McLean and officially pleads “not guilty” to the charge of Deliberate Homicide. Kaarma continues to be released from jail on bond.
6/20/14 The Defense filed their initial Expert Disclosure of witnesses as well as lay witness lists. The Defense initially lists 4 expert witnesses and 68 lay witnesses for their case.
6/25/14 The Court holds an OMNIBUS Hearing, which is a scheduling hearing. The Court sets a jury trial date of January 5, 2015 for the trial of the case in Missoula. Main defense attorney Paul Ryan is also advised by Judge McLean to no longer sponsor a public viewing of the World Cup soccer match involving the United States vs. Germany in Missoula, stating that such a display is playing to the public given the circumstances of the case, and could taint the potential jury pool.
7/18/14 The Defense files a Motion to seal any proceedings involving 404(b) evidence. This motion attempts to seal and hide from public view any briefing and hearings where the prosecution may attempt to establish a reason to introduce evidence of prior bad acts or crimes of Kaarma preceding the shooting during the jury trial of this matter. The prosecution does not oppose this motion. However, a local media outlet attempts to intervene in the case and force the court to make such information open to the public under disclosure laws. Judge McLean ultimately denies the media outlets attempt to make public these proceedings, and they are ordered sealed from public view.
7/18/14 The Defense files a Motion to change venue out of Missoula for the jury trial of this case. This Motion asserts that media coverage and overall disbursal of facts surrounding the case to the Missoula public would result in an unfair trial to Kaarma, and a request is made to hold the trial in a different city within Montana where potential jurors may not have had such coverage or formed opinions prior to the trial.
8/1/14 The State responds to the Motion to change Venue, opposing it and listing the legal reasons that the Defense has not established the legal standard to have a jury trial moved out of Missoula.
8/21/14 Judge McLean Orders the Defendant’s Motion for change of Venue Denied, and the trial will proceed in Missoula.
9/12/14 Judge McLean Orders that any proceedings dealing with potential 404(b) evidence be sealed from public view.
9/12/14 The Defense files supplemental witness disclosures including 25 new lay witnesses for their case.
9/25/14 The Defense files a Motion in Limine to exclude certain evidence from trial. This Motion is sealed under the Rule 404(b) ruling against public disclosure.
10/9/14 The State responds under seal, to the Defendant’s Motion in Limine to exclude evidence from trial.
10/16/14 The Defense files a sealed Reply Motion to the State’s Response in regard to the Motion in Limine to exclude evidence.
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