Image 01 Image 03

Trial Underway of Homeowner Accused of “Baiting” Intruder

Trial Underway of Homeowner Accused of “Baiting” Intruder

If you CREATE the necessity for using force in self-defense, it’s NOT self-defense.

The murder trial is underway of a Montana homeowner Markus Kaarma, accused of “baiting” an intruder into his garage and then shotgunning him to death has been proceeding in Missoula this past week, as reported by the Missoulian newspaper and other sources.  The defendant is arguing that the shooting was lawful self-defense.

The essential facts are that a group of thieves–sometimes characterized as college students–have been raiding neighborhood garages and stealing from them, a practice referred to as “garage hopping.”  Kaarma had been robbed in this fashion several times already, including one instance in which his cell phone was stolen resulting in him having an actual phone conversation with the thieves who answered when he called his own number.

The prosecution argues that Kaarma and his common law wife, frustrated with the continued thefts and the inability of the police to do much about them, “baited” the garage with a purse, leaving the door slightly open.  This apparently attracted 17-year-old German exchange student Diren Dede to sneak into the garage.  Alerted to the intrusion, Kaarma approached the open garage door from the outside and fired several shotgun blasts into the garage, killing Dede.

This is, of course, being cited as another “Stand-Your-Ground” related shooting.  It is, naturally, nothing of the sort.  All 50 states are–both those that impose a duty-to-retreat and those that allow you to stand-your-ground–are in agreement that there is no duty to retreat from an intruder in your home.  Stand-your-ground in such scenarios is utterly irrelevant.

What is creating considerable difficulty for the defendant’s claim of self-defense, however, is considerable evidence that the defendant deliberately baited his garage to lure in the thief, with the intent of then bringing lethal force to bear against him.

The Great Falls Tribune reports:

Neighbor Jessica Bracey said she had a conversation with Markus Kaarma’s girlfriend, Janelle Pflager, days before the April 27 shooting. She told jurors she is certain Pflager used the word “bait” in describing plans to catch intruders after their garage had been burglarized April 17.

Kaarma’s next-door neighbor testified Tuesday that on the night of the first burglary, he heard Pflager threaten the people who answered his stolen cellphone.  “If you return to our garage you could be killed,” Terry Fink said Pflager told them. “It was jaw dropping to me at the time.”

And abcfoxmontana reports:

Robin Rosenquist, who lives across the street from Kaarma and Pflager, told jurors about a conversation with Pflager shortly before Diren Dede’s death. Pflager told Rosenquist about a prior robbery, her frustration with police, but also the expectation that the burglars would come back because they planned to “bait” them.

Later, witness Jessica Bracey, whose yard is adjacent to Kaarma’s, recalls a similar conversation with Pflager, who told her about the burglary, told her “guns are loaded” and they planned to bait the burglars back into their garage and catch them on the baby monitors.

At the very core of self-defense (as well as defense of property) is the notion of necessity.  The ability to lawfully use deadly force to take another person’s life is an awesome power, and the law allows it only when it is necessary to do so in defense of a greater good.

It is also required, however, that the necessity not be the result of the purported defenders own deliberate conduct.

You cannot be the aggressor in a fight and then claim the justification of self-defense for your use of force.  By being the aggressor you yourself created the necessity for the use of force.

You cannot even be a mutual combatant–“Let’s go outside and settle this like men!”–and claim self-defense as justification for your use of force.  In cases of mutual combat, everybody who agreed to fight is deemed the aggressor, because they all created the necessity for the use of force.

Similarly, you cannot lay out bait to attract intruders into your home, and then use self-defense as justification for your use of force against them.  Again, because you have created the necessity for the use of force.

Kaarma’s defense is well aware of this difficulty, and argues stridently that there was no deliberate intent to lure a victim into the garage where they could be killed.  Kaarma’s common-law wife, Janelle Pflager, has already testified on the stand that she did not intend to leave the purse in the garage as bait, but merely as an indicator of whether someone had been in the garage.  She had purportedly made a list of the items inside the purse, so that if someone were caught with the purse or those items they could be connected with the theft.

The defendant, Kaarma, has not yet taken the stand.  The only reason I could imagine that his lawyer would not have him testify under these circumstances, and given the neighbors’ testimony, is that it would only hurt him further.

Given his conduct to date, that seems a promising hypothesis.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

NEW! The Law of Self Defense proudly announces the launch of it’s online state-specific Law of Self Defense Webinars.  These are interactive, online versions of the authoritative 5-hour-long state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars that we give all over the country, but from the convenience of your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and on your own schedule.  Click over for more information on our state-specific Law of Self Defense Webinars, and get access to the ~20 minute Section 1. Introduction for free.

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



Yeah, this guy is wrong. First, when you have a name like Kaarma, you just GOTTA go out of your way to stay on the right side of…you know…KARMA…

A part of me empathizes with the home owners who are obviously being preyed upon by a few Darwin award nominees that the cops are either unwilling or unable to do anything about. I absolutely loath little punks like this that keep doing this “for fun” at the expense of others’ sense of safety and well-being.

The other part of me realizes completely that this is not justifiable for reasons stated above…I’m pretty sure your self defense claim also becomes quite sketchy (even without the baiting convos) if you essentially “trap” the robber in the garage by circling around him to his entry point and then firing your weapon at him into the garage.

Ironic, his last name is.

sucks being him, my views on this are considered crazy so I won’t say much except that if you enter a domicile with intentions to steal you deserve to die.

President Jugears is all on board with this importing of alien workers to do the jobs Americans won’t do.

Even if the garage was “baited” and the homeowner killed the intruer with a gun, wouldn’t he be justified if the intruder had attacked him? I’m not saying it happened that way, but it seems that the legality is dependent on what caused the homeowner to pull the trigger. The earlier premeditation wouldn’t seem to matter if there was an actual threat to his life.

But I don’t know what actually happened.

    healthguyfsu in reply to fmc. | December 10, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    The biggest thing I don’t like about the charge about “baiting” is that it removes all responsibility from the intruders.

    Apparently, the poor little snowflake children were driven like a moth to a flame to rob this garage. They really couldn’t help it and it is probably all the owner’s fault for owning property in the first place.

    I mean give me a break it’s not like they are physically addicted druggies. That said, you can’t play vigilante, brag about it to your neighbors, and expect to get away with it.

      filiusdextris in reply to healthguyfsu. | December 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Criminal responsibility is not gone. Just because the homeowner in a baiting case may not be able to use a self-defense claim to some level of assault, doesn’t mean the burglar can’t be prosecuted for his crimes.

        healthguyfsu in reply to filiusdextris. | December 10, 2014 at 8:10 pm

        I get that. However, he pays a disproportionate amount for his crime and his cohorts likely pay no penance at all.

        I just don’t see “baiting” as that big of a nefarious deal…unless you equate the intruder to a rat and the purse to a piece of cheese.

        What I see as bad is not trying to catch him before firing a gun at him.

      Paul In Sweden in reply to healthguyfsu. | December 11, 2014 at 5:45 am

      There is no exception for varmint. “Montana – It is illegal for anyone to hunt or attempt to hunt by the aid of or with the use of any bait, salt lick, trap, snare or set gun. Baiting shall mean the placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of food sources or salt so as to constitute a lure or attraction.”

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to healthguyfsu. | December 11, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      Both the defendant and his wife (whatever) should have kept their mouths completely shut to any neighbors. That was just stooooopid.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to fmc. | December 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    While you may be technically correct, that if someone attacked you in your home even after you baited them. I think you would still have a long row to hoe convincing a jury that you were justified.

    Little bit of forensics I’ve seen (not much) suggests victim was on far back of garage when fired on and killed, perhaps even on opposite side of a car. Not much of an imminent threat to a shotgun wielding homeowner.

    The trouble with “baiting” is that it taints the entire narrative (I’m talking about court room pragmatics, setting the moral issues aside). Self-defense cases are tough enough if your credibility is 100% solid. If you gut that, you’ve gutted the entire narrative, made yourself very vulnerable to successful prosecution.

    Just ask Michael Dunn.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Andrew Branca. | December 11, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Assuming his counsel serves up a presentable defense, it’s all going to depend on how much sympathy the jury has for the predicament he was in. If I was a juror, I wouldn’t have a problem with the “baiting”. What I’d have a problem with is not just holding the punk at gunpoint and calling the cops. Without knowing more, I sure don’t see self-defense. But I couldn’t agree with M1, either, if that’s the charge. He and others had tried to use law enforcement for resolution, and that didn’t work. Eventually somebody has to do something. Anybody who burglarizes or robs is rolling the dice. You’re on somebody else’s turf with the intention to take away their property. The deceased brought his death on himself because when you keep hitting the same house(s), you might just run into somebody who’s had enough. The law doesn’t see it my way, but a jury might.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to fmc. | December 11, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    I kind of see it that way, too.

MouseTheLuckyDog | December 10, 2014 at 6:35 pm

This is all very grey, A purse inside a garage as bait? Would the burglars even be aware of it before they had already started to commit the burglary?

The door ajar? How ajar? Was it visible before someone had already decided to try to enter? Big difference between the door wide open with a big neon sign “burglars–easy access” and a crack in a poor lighted area that can’t be discerned.

It may be a trough road for the defense, but it’s also a tough road for the prosecution.

Mixed feelings on this one.

I hate thieves.I doubly hate thieves that would enter your house to steal something while you’re home.

Part of me would like to say “it’s too bad that they shot their mouth off in advance about baiting the garage. Nobody would have been the wiser, and one more felonious perp would have been off the street. Safer for all of us.”

Of course, that would be wrong.


    Estragon in reply to Twanger. | December 11, 2014 at 1:48 am

    There is being wrong, there is being illegal, and there is being stupid.

    This was all three.

    Choosing to blab or even brag to neighbors about their intent as the girlfriend did was very stupid – but then, she won’t be going to prison over it, will she?

Let me start by saying I am not an attorney. I have a few questions I think are important, that need to be answered.

1) The report says “leaving the door slightly open”, my question is could you see the purse from the street without going on the property? If the purse was the bait, it needs to be visible. Also the way the story reads he might have fired randomly into the garage without seeing the intruder, like under the garage door. This I find very scary, you should never pull the trigger unless you can plainly see your target!

2) Was the list of items in the garage created before the burglary and shooting? If it was created on a computer that would be very easy to determine. Getting caught is this lie would be devastating to the defense.

3) If the wife did say that they baited the garage was the husband in on the plan?

4) What time did this happen, day or night?

I personally don’t care if Kaarma threatened them on the phone!

Why are we pretending this guy is German? He is a Turkish Muslim. And why was he allowed burglarize and terrorize Montana neighbourhoods? It boggles the mind.

    Because in all news accounts I’ve seen, he’s reported as German. If you have alternative information, provide a source.

    Furthermore, even should it turn out he was Muslim, I very much doubt a 17-year-old fishing in a garage ranks very close at all to the existential threats raised by the faith’s radicalized factions.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Neighborhood sneak thieves are common now, as they were when I was a kid in downtown Detroit. My father – a Detroit police officer – had a unique way of handling this. With six kids there was never any shortage of baby shit, so he’d fill a box up with baby shit tumbled out of cloth diapers, close up the box, gift wrap it, and leave it out front on the stoop unattended.

One line of legal defense would be to distinguish between knowledge and intent. I think it would be hard for an already somewhat sympathetic community jury to convict on a beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard that while the defendant claimed he was aware that the purse had bait potential, that was not his actual intent in leaving it there. He would have to claim some other intent (convenience perhaps?), but if it was remotely reasonable, moderate jury disbelief may not be enough to convict.

Should have been a bit more subtle. Perhaps a twenty dollar bill and a fishing pole….?

Well I can tell you this, we are not dealing with a mental giant here if he told all of his neighbors about his plans and then went through it anyway.

I can see the defense arguing that hubby didn’t know that wife had baited the garage before he shot. That is the only story I find even remotely believable.

OK, this isn’t hard.

If this idiot had “shot” the perp with a camera, Allllll GOOD. If he’d had his girl-friend tape him shooting the perp with a paint-gun…swell.

But this idiot went hunting for a perp with malice and aforethought PLANNING to use deadly force against someone. From what I gleaned from the root post by Andrew, he shot the guy from OUTSIDE the garage, though that was just MORE stupid built on SUPER-stupid.

You can’t do this. You can’t even come close to this use of deadly force and call it “justified”.

Everyone should keep in mind that anything you say and/or do BEFORE being mirandized will be held against you.

If you’re going to do something illegal, it’s best not to tell the whole neighborhood first.

Similarly, you cannot lay out bait to attract intruders into your home ….

Hey, cops lay out undercover cop prostitute ‘bait’ all the time to entrap guys. But when the cops use ‘bait’, it’s OK ….

    Ragspierre in reply to walls. | December 10, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    They set out animated deer robots, too.

    They don’t shoot either johns or poachers.

    Are you seriously confused here?

      Every house [except an empty one] has items of value … TV, camera, computer, jewelry, etc. Do we consider every house ‘baited’ because the home owner has items of value inside? Is the homeowner supposed to live a spartan lifestyle?

      If a thief looks into a picture window and sees a new 65″ TV, is that baiting? A homeowner should be allowed to put things wherever he wants in his garage or home. People should not break into garages or homes to take the personal property of others. If they do, they do so at their risk.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to walls. | December 11, 2014 at 5:27 pm

        Its a question of intent not of inventory. No just having a TV in your home ins’t baiting because your only intent in placing the TV there is for best picture and sound quality.

        Now if you take that same TV and place it in a partially open garage with the door partway up, especially if you do so after telling the entire neighborhood you are setting a trap, well then yes it is baiting, since your intent is to use it to draw in a criminal.

      forksdad in reply to Ragspierre. | December 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Actually, sometimes they do shoot them. It’s not what they plan on when they go into it though.

    onlyabill in reply to walls. | December 11, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Except, he did not do that (he did wrong but he did not do that). He did not hang a sign up that said “Valuable stuff to steal in here”. He had stuff in HIS garage, on HIS property. The thief had to come onto his property and go into his garage (yes the door was open but that was no excuse) and to rummage around in the garage. All of that had to happen to “find” the purse. How is that baiting?

      Gremlin1974 in reply to onlyabill. | December 11, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      No, as long as the purse was left there by accident, which is highly unlikely considering that pretty much every neighbor has testified that they were told this guy was setting a trap.

      However, if a purse was left by accident I would expect it to be on top of a car or on a car hood, from what I have read the car was left so that it could be seen through the partially open door, if so that would be baiting, especially with the neighbors testimony.

    Paul In Sweden in reply to walls. | December 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    The government forces the poisoning of alcohol(denatured alcohol) so that it cannot be consumed(often with fatal results) without the payment of excessively high government taxes. Is that not baiting that would be illegal for an individual? It is my understanding you cannot even poor soap detergent on your discarded food products least the dumpster divers that upturn your trash cans become ill from your refuse.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to walls. | December 12, 2014 at 12:03 am

    What’s pathetic about all this is that the same law enforcement that couldn’t do shit about the burglaries can do plenty about the burglary victim(s) who were done with putting up with these little pukes.

    Kaarma and his lady just handled this sooooo badly.

    I also think it sucks that some of the neighbors ratted him out. They benefitted by his action, idiotic as it was.

I can understand how waiting for a burglar with a loaded gun in order to shoot him dead is a crime regardless of what you are protecting. I’m not sure about what is right when it comes to waiting there to apprehend him, and to what extent you can try to restrain him. Is he a fleeing felon if he has just broken into your home, and does that give you the right to shoot him or does he have to be making an attempt for your life? Is there such a thing as shooting to stop instead of shooting to kill? I would never put myself in this situation were I a repeat victim of a burglar. It’s just too hard to prove what happened with things go wrong and opens you up to way more danger than a few robbed pieces of property.

    Estragon in reply to BrianMacker. | December 11, 2014 at 1:59 am

    It would all depend upon your state of mind at the time you fired.

    So you better get your mind right.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to BrianMacker. | December 12, 2014 at 12:17 am

    There are deep problems with the law. A property owner’s hands are nearly tied by many states’ laws and victims have few rights when it comes to protecting what they’ve often worked very, very hard to get. In addition, in heavily populated urban areas the cops usually have more pressing/dangerous calls so it takes too long for the cops to get there; in rural areas manpower is lean and distances are long so it takes too long for the cops to get there.

    If Kaarma had been an 80 yr. old woman who blasted this punk under identical circumstances and M.O., the DA would have found a way to decline prosecution.

Going about your normal, rightful, day-to-day business can’t be considered “baiting”. Nor can it be considered “aggression” in any useful sense. Rather, the obvious problem here is self-defense. Against … what? Kaarma has already had some trouble with these dregs, but that trouble wasn’t assault. They steal stuff; we have no report that they brandish knives or guns. Absent a reasonable belief that there’s a deadly threat, it’s hard to cite self defense.

Are women who wear skimpy clothes baiting men to sexually assault them?

I assume any garage contains items of value. Are they all baited?

    Did you tell several of your neighbors that you placed those items in your garage specifically as bait?

    Did those neighbors testify in court?


    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Andrew, did this jurisdiction allow deadly force in defense of property? I know TX does, but I’m not sure what effect that would have, if any, given all the other stupidity.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to SDN. | December 11, 2014 at 5:23 pm

        I am not a lawyer, but even if the area did have a “defense of property” law, I doubt it would apply to property that you were using as bait to draw in your target.

      onlyabill in reply to Andrew Branca. | December 11, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Can you explain how that constitutes “baiting” unless the perpetrator heard about the “stuff” from one of the neighbors?

      I could tell all of my neighbors that I have a stack of gold coins on my dining room table and if a random thief breaks in to steal them, is that baiting?

      The would-be thief had to come onto the private property, enter the private garage and rummage around in order to find the “bait” purse. How is that baiting?

      I understand baiting to be more like when the police leave a bicycle out in the open with a bag attached that is partially open and money exposed. A pure crime of opportunity. Honestly, how is it baiting if it is done within your private property? Can you explain?


      onlyabill in reply to Andrew Branca. | December 11, 2014 at 11:26 am

      I am not saying that he should not be charged with a crime as it seems clear he used deadly force without a need but it also appears to me that the entire “baiting” argument is a distraction and has no bearing on anything. The thief would have been in the garage regardless of the purse and the man would have shot from outside the garage regardless of the purse. The entire “baiting” line seems confused just like the “stand your ground” line did with the Zimmerman case, or am I missing something?


        You’re missing the point.

        The “bait” was not the purse, per se, or any other particular object in the garage. The purpose of the purse was merely to hold cataloged items that could later be readily proven to have been stolen property.

        The “bait” was the intentional leaving of the garage door open to deliberately create an exceptionally attractive target for theft and for the deliberate purpose of luring the victim into the garage with the specific intent of then confronting the victim with deadly force.

        If the defendant was reasonably interested merely in defending their property, they would simply have closed and locked the door, especially after having been robbed in the past.

        This they did not do because their purpose was NOT protection of their property, but to confront and lethally engage whoever might have been drawn into their “trap.”

        One can imagine a parallel case in which the defendant had not deliberately arranged the scheme to attract and trap the victim (and certainly not told so many others that he had done so), but had innocently left the garage door open by accident.

        The death of the intruder might otherwise have occurred in nearly precisely the same manner, but the absence of the defendant deliberately setting a trap would almost certainly have prevented the matter from coming to trial, particularly in Montana.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      I have a pogo stick in my attached garage that I bought for my children a decade ago. My children have grown and no longer use it. If I were to inform you that I am keeping it solely as bait, do I then forfeit my natural and legal right to defense of person and property should I find a burglar in my garage?

      If a woman dons tantalizing attire with a voiced intent of driving men wild, does she then forfeit her natural and legal right to self defense should some guy opt to assault her?

      I bought a carry pistol — and obtained the proper license to carry it concealed if I choose — with the intent to defend myself, my property, and others should the need arise. Am I baiting bad guys each time I head out of my home carrying?

    Ragspierre in reply to Skookum. | December 11, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Andrew, do you ever despair of the commenters here…???

    I mean, you teach and you teach, and they just don’t get it.

There are discrepancies here.

If the garage was darkened until after the shooting, how were burglars supposed to see the bait?

– –

There is something of a gap in the law. If he just held the kid at gunpoint until the cops came, they probably couldn’t have charged the teen for anything worse than trespassing. He didn’t break in and hadn’t stolen anything yet (that night).

Interesting to me that MT is slowly coming into the 21st Century in this area. Throughout much of the state, some don’t bother locking their doors, because it would have traditionally been foolish to do this sort of break ins. A bit off the subject, but remember the River Runs Through, and what happened to the Brad Pitt character in the end. And, that was supposedly set around Missoula, though, if I remember right, much of it was filmed near Yellowstone (except that my SO claims that they had film crew and even Pitt downriver a bit by where she lives). There is a lot of armed self-help there – mostly, luckily, involving wildlife (such as the illegal killing of marauding brown bears).

But, Missoula has boomed in recent years, and has a lot of non-Montanans these days, who don’t follow the traditional rules of conduct.

Living in rural MT (which Missoula is not) is weird, if you are used to big, even mid sized cities. I find myself not locking my trucks on a regular basis, and we leave the front door unlocked on occasion. You are much more concerned about the local natural predators than human predators. Two years ago, we had a black bear on the porch, there were a couple brown bears killed (illegally) down river that year, you can hear wolves on occasion late at night, etc. (And, notably, even liberal Missoula seems to have come out in favor of hunting the latter).

Probably like much of rural flyover country, guns are a big thing in MT. Was selling an ATV a year or so ago, and probably 1/2 of the offers I got included a trade for a firearm. And, political ads showing candidates shooting firearms are obligatory, esp. for Dems. Last election, one of the Dems running for Congress was running an ad explaining why he was better liked by the NRA (or something like that). Not enough people believed him, so he lost.

So, despite the laws on the books, I would suggest that a generation or so earlier, this guy likely wouldn’t have gone to trial in Missoula, and even less likely, in the more rural parts of the state, or if he did, he would have won through jury nullification (which appears to be what happened to the guy who illegally killed the charging brown bear). This is the sort of trespass that has traditionally been prevented through self-help. Times are a changing, and I expect a conviction. We shall see.

Richard Aubrey | December 11, 2014 at 6:53 am

We had a Turkish Muslim exchange student (AFS) in our area years ago. My daughter, four years old at the time, thought he was fabulous. Good kid.
I haven’t seen what time of day or night this was. If at night, I have a question: What does a purse look like in the dark?
A door ajar implies a people door, not a car door which generally goes up, not usually called “ajar”.
What does a purse look like in a dark garage from the outside–it wouldn’t have been baiting if the bait couldn’t be seen from the outside–at night? The kid comes up to a slightly ajar door, meaning on the property, peers into a garage darker than the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat, and sees a shapeless shape amongst all the other stuff in a garage and decides, aha! a purse.
Now, if there were a light on and a sign “Purse here”, we’d have something. Or if it were daylight and the purse could be seen from the outside and we figure kids robbing garages in the daylight….
IOW, the wife’s story about a list of items in order to help catch the junior buttheads is feasible. Leaving the purse where it can’t be seen until the guy is in the garage isn’t “bait” any more than a battery charger in the garage behind the car and under the trash bin is “bait”.
I don’t have any problem believing the guy talked about “bait”. We had some very congenial surveyors working on the property next door who came on to our property, measuring things on our porch and driveway–wtf–and that gets your annoyance factor up. And they didn’t steal anything and it was in the daylight. But they didn’t ask first. It would be exponentially more “annoying” to have somebody come in the dark and steal something. So, yeah, talking about bait would be a understandable.
That said, who was where doing what at the time the shot was fired is a separate issue. But if there were no baiting to be proved, then who was where is the only issue.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Richard Aubrey. | December 12, 2014 at 12:29 am

    The bait was the door being left “slightly open.” Unless the deceased had Superman’s X-Ray vision, he would have no way to know what might be in the garage. He saw an entry door ajar and went for it. Now he’s dead. Should he be? No. But could he have expected to be? Yes.

In Texas you have the right to use deadly force to protect property after dark. Remember this is not he castle doctrine, not just in your home but anywhere you have a legal right to be.

Go Texas!

    You’re referring to Texas Penal Code 9.42. Be careful, it has several hoops that need to be jumped through successfully. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Andrew, Thank you for the clarification!

      (3) he reasonably believes that:

      (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or

      (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

      This is the only part I see as difficult to meet, in any way but I’m still glad Texas still believes that lawful citizens have a right to protect their property(after dark). If I were righting the law it would be all the time, I’m not sure I understand what is the difference between night and day and why the distinction? Any thought Andrew?

Richard Aubrey | December 11, 2014 at 9:27 am

Suppose, in Texas or elsewhere, a homeowner hears a noise and goes to investigate. He discovers somebody trying to steal something. We now have a confrontation. If the homeowner feels he’s in danger, is it now self-defense or is it still defense of property?
If the latter, he was guilty because he went to investigate.

While it makes sense that the baiting is wrong, it is not a big step from there to saying that if you go into certain neighborhoods you are giving up the right of self-defense because your very presence baits the inhabitants.

buckeyeminuteman | December 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

Sounds like the show “To Catch a Predator”. They bait an adult into meeting up with someone who claims to be underage then arrest them when they show up. This sounds just like that, and that is considered a crime? I see no crime here. I should be allowed to leave my front door wide open. If you walk in to steal, my right to defense of property kicks in.

    Paul In Sweden in reply to buckeyeminuteman. | December 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    The govt. stings that rile me are the ones where morons are arrested only because they were lured and enticed to merely speak of committing illegal acts which they are often incapable of doing or even think about doing without the huge outlay of government resources.

    The most egregious IMO are some of the anti-terrorist entrapment arrests which were done solely for publicity. Lets convince stupid over there to say he will blow up half of the city with this van load of barrels that my cousin will sell him and we will be all over the newspapers as heroes. Much easier than dealing with the real terrorists.

Honest question: What is the difference between “baiting”/entrapment and a “sting”? Why is the former illegal but the latter not?

    If you put a pile of gold in your garage and leave the garage door open, someone is going to come along a steal it, and that person will be guilty of theft. Nobody is saying the thief wasn’t a thief, or that the homeowner committed a crime by baiting the thief. The crime was killing the thief, because it wasn’t self defense, because he set the bait to kill the thief.

    Kaarma was perfectly within his rights until he pulled the trigger on the shotgun, instead of dialing 911 on his cellphone.

    Personally, I’d have left the bait and put plenty of HD cameras in the garage to spring the trap. But then, I don’t really want to kill anyone for the crime of theft.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Immolate. | December 11, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Heck, if the kid had tried to come trough the door into the main house he would have been ok, but that isn’t what happened.

      Also, searching for an intruder isn’t very tactically sound for most people, they don’t know how to check corners, enter a room and sweep, and so on.

      I ask myself why would you go to the garage in the first place, I am not sure I would have. Granted it isn’t illegal.

      I certainly wouldn’t have emptied a shotgun into the garage, from the way it has been described the home owner didn’t have a clear target, he just went for filling the room with buckshot and hoping for the best.

OK. I’ve removed the salt licks from my garage.

Doesn’t anyone know how to flake a dead perp anymore?

Kind of hard to get worked up about this one. Dirt bag smug entitled little shit criminal dead. Here’s the part I didn’t see anyone mention, the guy warned the burglars if they returned they’d regret it. They knew there was a likely hood of getting shot for victimizing these people over and over again. When you burglarize someone’s home you should accept the risk they’re going to defend their property from you.

If the homeowner goes to jail I won’t sweat it. If he doesn’t I won’t sweat it either.

Had Kaarma and his g/f simply waited for the perp to exit with the purse, and held him at gunpoint while they called 9-11, they’d have been citizen heroes. Of course, if you really do intend to bait and shoot, don’t brag about it in advance — keep your stupid mouth shut.

Richard Aubrey | December 12, 2014 at 9:12 am

So the prosecutor finds a jury of meatheads and convicts the guy: Hypothetical.
A door, of some kind, is left open. Butthead comes in trying to steal something. Let’s spice it up by saying the homeowner has been robbed before.
Homeowner has said nothing to anybody about baiting.
H.O hears something and goes out, finds a perp and kills him.
Would a prosecutor, finding the door–metaphorically speaking–was left open, and still juiced from his earlier victory regarding an open door, start trying to find/make up a baiting scenario?
IOW, is leaving an opportunity for a theft a legal problem? Is having a cheap, as opposed to expensive, lock a problem? My question is where this could go. Even if a jury having an IQ average of, say, 70–which would be all that would be necessary to acquit–acquitted, it’s not the rap, it’s the ride.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Richard Aubrey. | December 12, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    The real problem here is that this guy shot his mouth off about baiting one of the robbers in, apparently to the lions share of the neighborhood, that’s just weapons grade stupid even if you are just kidding.

    I’d say that most of what the guy did wasn’t a problem, if not terribly tactically sound. But when you add the apparent premeditation of telling folks he is going to bait one of them, well he may have just screwed himself.

    Yes, I know the argument that just because he shot his mouth of doesn’t mean he baited anyone, but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, well chances are its a duck.

I don’t live in Montana, or necessarily understand the trend of thought of the community there toward killing, but I seriously doubt that humans anywhere in this country could sit on a jury and sympathize with this man’s actions, let alone empathize with him.
He certainly is guilty, at least of multiple counts of felony stupidity:
Bragging about his plans in advance.
Allowing his girlfriend to brag about his plans to all the neighbors.
Staging what would inevitably appear to investigators as an obvious baiting situation.
Shooting to kill an unarmed intruder, even in his garage, who represented no threat to him.

And at least one count of inhumanity:
Shooting and killing a young man who was absolutely no threat to him, solely out of malignant anger and a diffuse quest for revenge.

His only hope will be the presence of at least one stalwart sociopath on the jury, who shares his inhuman attitude toward life.

And I’m not a Liberal. I’m well armed, ready and willing to defend myself and my home. I just recognize evil when I see (or hear about) it.