Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Don't Believe Hunting Over Bait Is Legal

And it certainly isn't legal with people.  From May 1, 2014 BBC News:
Mr Kaarma, a 29-year-old firefighter, has told investigators his home had twice been hit by burglars, and he told a hair stylist he had waited up at night to shoot intruders, prosecutors said.
On the night of the shooting, Mr Kaarma and his partner Janelle Pflager left their garage door open, and Ms Pflager left her purse in the garage in order to bait intruders, she told police.
They set up motion sensors and a video monitor, prosecutors said.
When the sensors went off just after midnight and they saw a man on the monitor screen, Mr Kaarma went outside and fired a shotgun into the garage without warning several times.
It is unclear what the teenager was doing inside in the garage.
Mr Kaarma's lawyer said his client planned to plead not guilty.
Mr. Kaarma better have one heck of an excuse for this.  If the garage door was closed, he might have a case.  Leaving a purse in the garage "to bait intruders": no.  Firing without warning when you have set a trap?  No.

The May 1, 2014 Yahoo  News account doesn't sound good for Kaarma's defense, either:
He told investigators he heard metal on metal and without speaking fired four times — sweeping the garage with three low shots and a high fourth shot. Dede was hit in the head and the arm.
 So, let's look at some other possibilities, it might have been a neighbor looking into the garage to see why the door was open -- a perfectly neighborly thing to do.  It might have been a police officer who saw the door open, and was investigating to see if there was a burglary underway.  Even if this German kid was stealing a purse, that's pretty minor compared to opening fire without warning on a baited trap.

Kaarma could have turned on a light, ordered the kid to freeze, and held him for police.  If there is a burglary problem, that's the right solution -- not opening fire without warning or a chance to surrender.

Here's the charging document.  Kaarma better change his plea fast.  Montana has a death penalty, and I wonder if this is going to meet the pre-meditation and malice aforethought requirements.


  1. Also, I doubt the castle doctrine applies. The garage was apparently not occupied, so using deadly force against an intruder into it is not justified.

    This guy was an executioner, while castle doctrine is about defense.

  2. I don't see any way this isn't straight up murder under Montana law.

    No reasonable fear of bodily harm or of a violent felony to stop - an those are the excusing factors for use of lethal [or any?] force in MT, per my looking it up last night.

    "Sweeping the garage" after "hearing metal on metal" means he can't possibly have had any reasonable reason to fear for his life or a violent felony (even assuming the purse had enough money in it to count as felonious theft).

    Indeed, the presence of the monitor makes it extra awkward for his defense - if he saw no weapon on it, he's a murderer.

    If he did see a weapon he has to explain to the jury A) why none was found on the probable robber and B) why he didn't just call the cops then, rather than risking his life confronting an armed man.

    Hope he likes prison, because he's going there.

  3. Kaarma might as well have written out a confession before the crime.

  4. This "German" kid is actually a Turk. Note the Turkish headline on the memorial placard, and the Turkish flag roundel (paired with the German flag, to be fair).