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Markus Kaarma, a Montana resident convicted last December of homicide for intentionally baiting “burglars” into his detached garage with the intent of killing them in “self defense,” is originally from Washington and went to high school with a few friends of mine. Apparently at some point early on, he earned the nickname “Crazy Kaarma.” It doesn’t sound like much has changed since. He allegedly earned the nickname for. . .

what might otherwise be deemed “teen angst” had he eventually grown out of it. Anger issues, beating people up. Generally anti-social, “aggro,” behavior and, well, just being “Crazy Kaarma.” Although, bullying younger kids and urinating on them certainly turns the teen angst-ometer up to 11.

HS Yearbook Senior Photo

The judge, in explaining his decision to sentence ol’ CK to 70 years in prison, gave a pretty good picture of just how angry and disturbed this guy really is. Doing things like driving down the street at four mph just to goad people into passing, then cutting them off, exiting the car, and initiating vulgarity-laden confrontations.

Of course, it all culminated in Kaarma rigging his garage with motion sensors that alerted him inside his home, then leaving the garage door open, the lights on, with a purse visible just inside. He told his hair stylist that he had been staying up at night just waiting to shoot some kids who were suspected of burglarizing garages in the area. And it looks like that’s just what he did.

When the alarm was tripped, he exited his house, walked over to the detached garage and without even seeing (let alone identifying) his target he fired a few shotgun blasts blindly into the space. Apparently this wounded the unarmed victim, who was allegedly pleading for his life when Kaarma fired a fourth and final time time, killing the German exchange student.

While Kaarma was in jail leading up to and during the trial, he reportedly was “running his mouth” to his wife and others on the jail’s monitored phone system. He was recorded making statements such as his opinion that he should be lauded as a hero, bragging about his actions. His wife commented about sending the “dirtbag kid’s” body back to his family in Germany (she sounds like a real piece of work also). Those and more were used against him during the trial. Not entirely the smartest tool in the shed garage.

Or maybe just he’s obstinate and entirely without remorse. You’d expect that even the least capable attorney in Montana would have repeatedly advised him against incriminating himself on the record. At any rate, I’d have to agree with the judge. This guy is a danger to society, isn’t likely to reform, and belongs behind bars for a long, long time. Crazy Kaarma indeed.

And just for the record, no, a gun wasn’t responsible for this death. And no, stricter ownership and background check laws wouldn’t have prevented this.

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    • The victim clearly did not commit robbery. Per MT code:

      45-5-401. Robbery. (1) A person commits the offense of robbery if in the course of committing a theft, the person:
      (a) inflicts bodily injury upon another;
      (b) threatens to inflict bodily injury upon any person or purposely or knowingly puts any person in fear of immediate bodily injury; or
      (c) commits or threatens immediately to commit any felony other than theft.

      Castle doctrine or not, the use of force must be reasonable. It was not in this case.

    • My personal belief is that the legal right to kill somebody should not extend to your detached garage that has no connection whatsoever with your home, unless of course you are physically threatened by the trespasser. In this case, Kaarma chose to leave his home in order to confront the person in the garage, and then literally fired blindly into there hoping to hit whatever had set off the motion detector and was making noises in the garage. At that point, it could have been anything. Then, apparently, when the would-be burglar (allegedly looking for beer to steal, as there wasn’t anything of real value in the garage) was wounded and had completely capitulated and was no longer a threat (if you could ever even argue that he was a threat in the first place) Kaarma essentially executed him with an aimed shot to the head. Castle Doctrine did not protect him because a reasonable person would not have felt they were in fear of injury from the trespasser. At least according to the jury and such.

      Again, just speaking for myself here, if somebody is working on stealing some property of mine I’m not shooting them for it. I don’t care if they’re in the process of driving off with my car, or carrying something out of my garage. I don’t care what the legal justification may or may not be for shooting somebody who’s on my property. They aren’t getting shot. It’s just stuff. In many cases, insured stuff. If I see somebody entering my garage they may or may not be confronted by me, but most likely I’d call the cops and ask them to take care of it while I secure the inside of my home. If I did confront that person and display a firearm as an incentive for them to leave post haste, there’s still no way they’re getting shot unless they give me a reason to fear for my health. I’d literally hold my sights on him and simply watch if he still chose to walk away with my possessions in his arms. That said, should the person break into the house itself, which is almost certainly where I’m locked and loaded and waiting on the cops, the burglar has just increased his likelihood of being shot by me from almost zero to almost 100%.

      There was actually a case that happened in my area of a person who shot at his car as it was being driven away by the guy who was stealing it. He killed the thief with one of the shots through the rear of the truck when it was something like 50 yards away. He did go to trial. He was acquitted of all charges. I don’t really care and I’m not saying I’d try to change the law or anything, but there’s no way in hell I’d shoot after my fleeing car. Good lord there are A LOT of ways to end up in prison by doing that (risks of firing down a suburban street), and I find it morally objectionable as well. It’s just a car. It’s insured. It’s driving away from you and is zero threat whatsoever to you. I don’t see a justification for deadly force. As above, to me that’s for defense of life, not possessions.

      • I appreciate and generally agree with your points Jeremy.

        That said, now consider a victim who lives in poverty and quite literally has no cash reserve. A thief who steels $200 from the victim could quite literally be issuing a death sentence to the victim who has no cash reserves and now has to decide whether to give up food or insulin for the next month.

        And how about the burglar who one day becomes a home invader — who suddenly decides to take advantage of a situation and ends up raping an occupant? It sure would be nice to somehow capture or stop such a burglar before they escalate.

        Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating for automatically shooting/executing criminals. What I am saying is that there is a larger context and the matter may not be quite so black-and-white. Fortunately we have trials with juries of our peers and it sounds like the trial and jury worked properly in this case.

        • Try to come up with a better scenario. There are food banks and an ER will give you insulin.

        • Yeah that’s fine, I’m not saying it’s black and white and every situation is certainly its own special snowflake and should be treated as such. Like they say, the plan goes out the window the first time you get punched. So, it’s more of a general, moral theory that I’d like to abide by if possible but if the scenario changes so does the response. And that’s for me. Do what you will. If you’re in your legal right then your choices are yours (and by “you” I mean all people who aren’t me).

          The last time I pulled a gun on somebody, he turned out to be an undercover cop. He was cool with it, I was fine with it, but his partner who came out from behind the house when he heard us did a pretty good eyes popping out of one’s head impression. He was in uniform and just said, “he’s a cop,” and it ended there. By Kaarma’s and, apparently, DCert’s modus operandi, I should have shot the UC on sight.

      • “I don’t care if they’re in the process of driving off with my car, or carrying something out of my garage. I don’t care what the legal justification may or may not be for shooting somebody who’s on my property. They aren’t getting shot. It’s just stuff. In many cases, insured stuff. . . ”

        Well, this is good to know. And besides, they probably wouldn’t take your stuff if they didn’t want or need it, right?

        • Does it matter if they want or need it? Well, obviously they want it haha. Who would take it if they didn’t want it? Even if it’s just to pawn or whatever. I don’t see how their motivation is relevant. I’m not killing somebody because they’re stealing my lawn mower or bicycle or some tools or whatever else is in the garage, or a television or a car. My belongings, my decision. I have no moral issue with shooting and killing somebody, but that’s in defense of my life, not my stuff. You do what you please.

      • But you will not hesitate to send the bill to the insurance company so all the policy holders can reimburse you? It is an evil big corp. Screw the insurance co.

    • So, in your opinion, attempted purse-snatching from a detached garage (with the door left open, so not even breaking-and-entering) constitutes sufficient grounds to use deadly force in self-defense?

      (No need to get into the continued use of deadly force after the “threat” had been stopped.)

      • This. The right thing to do would have been to video record the thief in action and either confront him right there peacefully to try to remedy the problem the old-fashioned way or just turn the recording right over to the cops. Even if your answer is “an eye for an eye”, the crudest form of justice, theft and murder are not apples to apples, even in the worst light.

        When civilization breaks down, it may come to “shoot first and ask questions later”, or murder may be the only prudent action when dealing with strangers if the world becomes desperate enough, but as corrupt and broken as it is, our civilization still has civilized means. As gun owners, we should adhere to a high standard of propriety. The fact that not all of us do is the ammunition for those who would have guns made contraband.

    • That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. For starter’s, he executed someone after they no longer posed a threat. So even if the burglar had broken into his house and posed a violent threat, once he dropped him and the burglar was begging for his life, that’s it. Second, he set a trap. That negates the entire premise of Stand Your Ground/Castle Laws. Screw that guy. I hope he enjoys his 70 years.

    • I’m not sure what the facts of this particular case are but it doesn’t sound like self defense to me based on what’s reported in the article. Use of deadly force in a home invasion or burglary when the occupant is home may be justified if the occupant has reasonable fear for their safety (or that of someone else e.g. a family member) and reason to believe the home invader has the means, ability, and intent to inflict death or grave bodily harm. A “castle doctrine” just means the occupant doesn’t have a duty to retreat in that setting. Firing blindly into a garage that you think may have a burglar who you may or may not have bated doesn’t seem to meet the criteria for a valid claim of self defense.

      Not trying to get into a philosophical debate just explaining the law as I understand it.

  1. Im surprised he wasnt schooled earlier in life by someone much meaner.. Thats the usual path bullies go down.

  2. Baiting someone is premeditated murder. That has nothing to do with castle doctrine. And neither does execution of an incapacitated intruder.

    • While I can easily acknowledge that Mr. Kaarma is no friend of the 2A for his actions, the hype of the ‘baited shoot’ does us no favors. It’s just a short hop for an average defense attorney to argue that ‘having nice things’ is a ‘bait for murder’ of an actual burglar.

  3. Wow. Urinating on other kids? I don’t know about Washington, but in WV I’ve seen Fathers, uncles, cousins and other male family members show up to deal with these kinds of psycho bullies. And it ain’t pretty.

    • You know, I was thinking the exact same thing. Where I come from there were pretty strict rules governing that sort of stuff. Bullies don’t fare very well in red-neck culture.

  4. So, I’m from Montana and have friends in the city where this happened. I’ve followed the case since day one, because he immediately claimed castle doctrine, and I knew that was going to cause a stir. the facts of the case are crystal clear: he intentionally baited this person in to kill them. Every piece of evidence indicates that no attempt was ever made to restrain or even identify the intruder (who was a stupid ass for burglarizing people in the first place), but Kaarma just let fly. He is guilty of premeditated murder, and I’m very happy to see Justice served.

  5. While I agree this was a murder, I don’t agree that there should be any such concept as “baiting a burglar”. Say I forget to put my lawnmower away, and it leads to an attempted theft, that leads to a confrontation, that leads to an otherwise lawful self defense. Would a judge say I baited the would-be thief? Have we completely lost the right to leave valuables in plain sight? I don’t want to lose any right for the good of criminals, no matter how insignificant. Sounds like a dangerous precedent to me.

    • Presumed innocence. “Baiting” requires some overt act(s), probably backed up with statements and previous actions. Merely forgetting a lawnmower or even choosing to leave it out wouldn’t constitute actual baiting.

      Even baiting alone isn’t enough. There’s the whole shooting indiscriminately in a general direction. (One of my neighbor does this all of the time — I’m trying to get him to see the foolishness and danger in the practice. 🙁 ) There’s also the “finishing off” of a suspected thief after he is subdued.

    • That’s a long-winded way to say that you’re not familiar with the facts of the case. Kaarma’s intent was to bait the intruder, in order to shoot him, as proven in court.

  6. I think I remember this story in the liberal media and how they were stating that all of the gun ownership, stand your ground, and castle doctrine laws resulted in this; and how we needed European type gun laws.

    • As I see it, the response to all of that is pretty straightforward. All of those laws necessitate fear of death or great bodily harm and whether that was met is always subject to the “reasonable person standard.” To be legal, it has to pass the test that any “reasonable person” would have also felt sufficiently threatened so as to justify the level of defensive force in question (i.e. using a firearm to defend oneself). If it isn’t cut-and-dry in the first place and it results in a court trial, then the jury decides what that “reasonable person” standard is and whether it was met in the case or not. Laws like stand your ground and castle doctrine are NOT blanket approval to shoot anyone who sets foot on your property nor are they “shoot first & ask questions later” laws. To be in the legal right you have to 1) feel sufficiently threatened and 2) any “reasonable person” would have felt sufficiently threatened also.

  7. Shooting someone to stop them from burglarizing your stuff? Okay.

    Purposefully leaving stuff as bait so you can shoot someone burglarizing it? Uh….

    Walking up to someone who is no longer a threat and ‘finishing them off’? Nope. Enjoy prison with the other sociopaths.

  8. Crazy people going to crazy. He would’ve done it with another weapon if he didn’t have a gun anyway.

  9. As a side note, before we simply write this guy off as crazy, consider this:

    “‘When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy,’ he said.”

    This from one of the Delhi rapists who is now facing the death penalty. The lawyers defending him have repeatedly claimed essentially the the girl had it coming. Sick on a truly cosmic level, and I don’t think too many people will care much when he is executed, but the mentality is not isolated to one wacko. It is pervasive. What we need to be more worried about is why Kaarma didn’t meet a little karma BEFORE he got to the point of thinking it was a public service to bait and kill a teenager. He is solely responsible for his own actions, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a long hard look at where parents, teachers, friends, and law enforcement failed leading up to this event. Perhaps sending him to juvi after he pissed on his bullying victims, along with some court-mandated counseling would have been a solid idea.

  10. So I guess you’re all just fine with strangers coming onto your property and taking stuff? I don’t care if I left a $20 bill on the front lawn, it’s mine and it’s on my property. Attempt to steal it and your life will be at risk. Stay off of my property and there’s no trouble. See how easy that is? The fact is the German kid was a thief and a good number of you seem to be just fine with people stealing things. I’m not.

    I don’t subscribe to the deadly force is only for self-defense mantra. I’m a firm believer in deadly force as a behavior modification tool. Are you going to stand there in the street while people take everything you own? Or are you going to put a stop to it? Exactly how much stuff are you willing to lose before you take some action? Once they’re done stealing purses is it OK if they light your detached garage on fire since you aren’t occupying it?

    Stay off other people’s property unless invited and don’t steal. The German kid would be alive today if he lived by those simple rules.

      • Amen! Crazy Kaarma is obviously an anti-social psychopath and “Texmin” sounds like one. The same logic applies to booby traps (known as spring traps in most laws against them). Setting a booby trap will get you time in the gray-bar hotel as sure as assassinating someone like good old Crazy Kaarma did. In the latter case, what a reasonable person would do applies, not what an anti-social crazy psychopath would do. Some vigilante nuts just shouldn’t have guns or other weapons. Most teenagers are just reckless and stupid and everyone knows it. I know I was. The German kid needed to be punished, not executed. And let the punishment fit the crime. Six months of community service and revoking his visa would have been appropriate. If he had lived, I bet that would have been the last garage he would have burglarized, at least in the U.S. He might even have graduated from college and found a cure for cancer. But we’ll never know.

    • Well, I kind of see a difference and a huge gap of possibilities between:

      A: Looking at people dragging your lawnmower off and wishing them a nice day and

      B: “Deadly force as a behavior modification tool”, by sitting in your window and shooting someone in the back of the head without him ever having seen your face…

      How about??
      Grabbing your gun. Going out there. Ordering the person to stop. If you want to, you can even tell the person to lie down, or whatever…

      If the person drops your lawnmower and runs off, well you just achieved victory in keeping your stuff.
      If the person surrenders -> Victory
      If the person takes violent actions against you -> well then you shoot -> victory

      And well, if you are too scared to control a person, that has a lawnmower in his hands, you should consider training some more….
      You know….Mindset..Skillset….toolset and stuff

      • +1

        (I’m always armed though so there’s no grabbing my firearm because it’s already with me.)

        I live on a relatively large property with a lot of buildings, multiple dwellings, and wooded areas. Over the decades, I’ve had to challenge many people who didn’t have business on the property or where present unannounced. I couldn’t imagine some able bodied armed person choosing to not challenge a stranger messing about on their property.

    • texmln, You are the reason people want guns banned, you crazy freak.

      Please, sell your guns at the next buy-back. You are not mature enough to have them.

  11. I’ll assume that if you lock everything in a vault rather than training kids to not touch you also don’t teach the kids to stay off of the property of others. That “borrowing” without permission, even if you “need” it, is stealing.

  12. Is a coral full of horses bait for horse thieves? We used to hang horse thieves after catching and disarming them of course. They no longer posed a threat but we still hung them anyway. Would it have mattered if the rancher had laid in wait for the horse thief?

  13. I read some of the comments here and find some of them disturbing. I’ll say this, if you feel its OK to kill someone over a material object and your life or anyone else’s life for that matter isn’t in any immediate danger, then you need to get yourself checked. I have zero problems shooting anyone attempting to harm my family or I, but no way in hell I would ever shoot anyone over a material object.

  14. Baiting and waiting with the intent to kill is premeditated murder, plain and simple. He deserves every year of his 70 year sentence.


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