Teen Burglar Shot, Homeowners Accused Of Baiting: Justifiable?

A teen burglar was shot and killed by the owner of the home he’d targeted, according to KTVQ out of Billings, Montana. However, Missoula prosecutors have decided to file charges, believing that the shooter purposefully baited the 17-year-old with the goal of ending his life.

According to charging documents from the court, 29-year-old Markus Hendrik Kaarma and his common-law wife, Janelle Pflager, had been robbed twice at their home in Deer Canyon Court prior to April 27, 2014.


Kaarma decided to have security equipment installed in order to identify the perpetrator(s).

The documents state he was alerted to an intruder in his garage on Saturday night/early Sunday morning. That’s when he went outside with a shotgun.

Kaarma first yelled into the garage. Pflager said she heard someone respond either “hey” or “wait.” Soon following, Kaarma fired four shots into the darkness of the garage “in a sweeping motion.”

With the gunfire, the teen burglar was shot in the head and the arm, police said, later identifying the young man as Diren Dede, a junior at Big Sky High School. He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Kaarma claimed self-defense, stating that he “feared for his life.” But according to court papers, Pflager admitted that she placed “a purse with personal belongings she had cataloged in the garage so the burglars would take it,” KTVQ notes, adding that she “also left the garage door open.”

The court paperwork also states that Kaarma confessed to a hair stylist prior to the incident that he had waited up three nights to “shoot some ‘bleeping’ kid.”

A School District Remembers

Missoula school officials confirmed that Dede was a foreign exchange student from Hamburg, Germany, and was attending classes as an eleventh grader at Big Sky High School.

“This situation is tragic and we are all pulling together to support the students, staff and families of Big Sky High School,” said Alex Apostle, Superintendent of Missoula Public Schools.

“I met with our administrative team on Sunday morning and we enacted our crisis teams at Big Sky High School right away. We are thankful for the support from NCBI, St. Patrick’s Hospital, local law enforcement and the University of Montana as we make sure that we support the Dede family and all of the families,” Apostle said.

The school district is also organizing “grief support” for Dede’s classmates.

School spokesperson Hatton Littman told the Missoulian: “He was a very loved student, especially in the junior class. … When he landed … first thing he asked was when are we practicing for soccer. … He was really proud of his Turkish culture. … People just can’t stop saying what a great student he was and what a great person he was.”

This isn’t the first time a homeowner has been charged with murder for shooting an intruder. Earlier this month, the trial began for Minnesota homeowner Byron Smith, 65, who had been in his basement when he heard someone break into his home.

As the burglars descended, Smith shot them both dead. The shooting sparked controversy as those intruders were also under the age of 18.

As for the teen burglar shot and killed in Missoula, was it a case of premeditated murder or justifiable homicide?

[Image via N24]