Judge Ed McLean Denies Motion for New Trial in Markus Kaarma Case [DOCUMENT]
District Judge Ed McLean issued a written ruling on Wednesday clarifying the denial of several motions following the conviction and sentencing of Markus Kaarma.
The 19 page court document includes Judge McLean's responses to three motions.
1) A motion for a new trial due to adverse publicity.
2) A motion to reduce the jury verdict from deliberate homicide to mitigated deliberate homicide.
3) A question of instructions to the jury regarding use of force in defense of an occupied structure, as opposed to justifiable use of force against a person.
All three motions were denied by Judge McLean in person just prior to Kaarma's sentencing on February 12. The document lays out the court's opinion on why none of the three motions were granted.
Kaarma attorney Nate Holloway with Paul Ryan and Associates told KGVO News that the document, dated March 6, was not a surprise.
"This is exactly what we expected right now," Holloway said. "It just explains the court's decision and actually puts it in writing since the oral pronouncement where he (Judge McLean) denied a new trial."
Holloway outlines the issues that will eventually make their way to the Montana Supreme Court.
"The issues include our request for a new venue due to prejudicial pretrial publicity, and our objections to the use of force instructions where the jury, we believe, should not have been instructed as to use of justifiable use of force in defense of a person," he said. "Those are two significant issues we will be addressing."
Holloway said the issues set forth by Kaarma's defense team may be somewhat new to the Supreme Court.
"While we respect the District Court's decision, we think that we have some legitimate issues for the Supreme Court to consider, some of which I think are actually going to be issues of first impression to this court, where potentially it hasn't directly considered them before," he said.
Kaarma's attorneys have 60 days from the date of his sentencing to file their appeal for a new trial before the Montana Supreme Court.
Kaarma is currently serving a 70 year sentence in the Montana State Prison after being convicted of deliberate homicide in the shotgun slaying of 17 year-old German exchange student Diren Dede.