Lead defense attorney for Markus Kaarma, Paul Ryan, granted an exclusive interview with KGVO News just minutes after his client was sentenced to 70 years in the Montana State Prison. 

Ryan said he and his client were prepared for the lengthy sentence.

"Actually, the state had asked for a longer sentence of 80 years, but I think the judge was in a difficult position," Ryan said. "The sentence was consistent with the facts that he heard during the trial and from the pre-sentence investigation."

Ryan said Kaarma and his family were already prepared to hear a sentence of 50 years or more.

"We had prepared them that there would be a sentence similar to this, but they are resilient in their desire to continue on with the appeal and get this looked at by the Montana Supreme Court," Ryan said. "We believe there are substantial legal issues that need to be looked at that will hopefully be favorable to Markus in the future."

Ryan did not have a timetable for filing an appeal.

"I believe it will over a year for the entire appeal process to play itself through," he said. "There's a number of legal issues that must be looked at, and so we'll take our time and do it appropriately according to the rules."

Lead prosecutor Andrew Paul also commented to KGVO News following the verdict.

"I do believe the sentence was fair," Paul said. "It was less than what we recommended, but I think the judge did a good job of taking into account all the facts and all the factors that he needed to in order to arrive at a fair sentence."

Following the sentencing, Kaarma, bound hand and foot with manacles, was led away by sheriff's deputies to begin his 70 year sentence in the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge.


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