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CRIME

Hamburg student’s killer jailed for 70 years

A US man who shot dead an unarmed German exchange student was sentenced to serve 70 years on Thursday in a case that tested the limits of some American states' cherished self-defense laws.

Hamburg student's killer jailed for 70 years
A protest march in Hamburg following Diren Dede's death. The banner reads: The USA is also to blame for Diren's murder through its laws. Photo: DPA

District Judge Ed McLean told Markus Kaarma, 30, that he "went hunting" rather than merely protecting his home when he killed Diren Dede last April after the 17-year-old wandered into Kaarma's garage in the small town of Missoula, Montana.

"It brings me to the conclusion that you're just not a very nice person," McLean told Kaarma, who was convicted in December of deliberate homicide and will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years.

"You're not killing to protect your family… you're angry at the world."

On the night of the fatal shooting, Dede and a fellow exchange student from Ecuador were strolling through the neighborhood when the German teen decided to explore Kaarma's open garage, apparently looking for alcohol.

After two earlier burglaries, Kaarma had installed motion detectors, which alerted him to the presence of an intruder.

He grabbed his shotgun, went outside and fired several times into the dark garage, fatally wounding Dede.

Kaarma's attorneys invoked a local law known as the "Castle Doctrine" that allows homeowners to use deadly force to defend themselves and their families from bodily harm or to prevent a violent crime.

But a jury convicted the shooter following the prosecution's argument that Kaarma and his girlfriend purposely left the garage open to trap an intruder.

"Anxiety doesn't excuse the anguish that you caused," McLean told Kaarma.

Kaarma, wearing handcuffs and an orange prison jumpsuit, said he was sorry for Dede's death but defended his actions.

"I felt I did what was necessary to protect my family and myself," he insisted in a brief statement.

His mother, Chong Oak Kaarma, also took the stand and apologized to Dede's family.

"I don't know how to find words to express my sadness," she said.

"It's too late," Dede's father Celal replied from the courtroom.

The victim's family will file a civil lawsuit against Kaarma to seek damages, attorney Bernhard Docke told journalists.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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