Markus Kaarma Murder Trial Begins Monday With Jury Selection [YouTube]
The deliberate homicide trial of Markus Kaarma is set to begin Monday morning, December 1, in Missoula District Court.
Judge Ed McLean told KGVO news that he has crafted a specific schedule to follow for the trial.
"We have the first and second set aside for the voir dire examination," Judge McLean said. "The third, we'll have law and motion, and on the fourth, we'll start the trial with opening statements and the state's case in chief. Each side has been given five days to present their case in chief, so you're looking at a 12 day trial, probably at the outside."
McLean also intimated that if jury selection can be completed on the first day, he may also begin with opening statements that same day. He also confirmed that local media, radio, television and newspaper, will have full access to cover the trial, so that the public can stay informed on this much-publicized case.
"The vast majority of the public can't come down and sit through an entire courtroom event," McLean said. "They're at work and doing other things, but they have the right to be kept up to date, and if we don't utilize our media and allow our media complete access, we're cutting off the public."
Judge McLean issued specific directives to the press, that at no time would any of the jurors be photographed or captured on video to ensure their privacy and security, and that no jurors were to be interviewed by the press immediately following the verdict.
In anticipation of the heavy interest by the international press in the case that involved the death of a German exchange student, Judge McLean is only allowing local media access to the trial. All national and international press will have to take their feeds from local affiliates, and will not have preferred seating with the local press.
Markus Kaarma has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide in the shooting death of 17 year-old German exchange student Diren Dede. Kaarma's attorney, Paul Ryan, said after his arraignment, that Kaarma was defending his family and property when he discharged a shotgun four times into his darkened garage early in the morning of April 27. Dede was struck twice, and died of his wounds.
The case has stirred controversy from national and international press over Montana's perceived gun culture. Articles have appeared in German and other European media, the New York Times and throughout the United States.
The case will be heard in District Courtroom number three in the Missoula County Courthouse.