Sentencing in the Markus Kaarma trial began with a hearing in which Judge Ed McLean heard arguments from the defense team that Kaarma's trial was inherently biased against him. Defense also argued that the charge against Markus Kaarma be lessened from Deliberate Homicide to Mitigated Homicide. Both requests were denied.

Kaarma was found guilty of deliberate homicide in the shooting death of German exchange student Diren Dede, who had entered Kaarma's garage on the night of April 27, 2014. Defense claimed that Kaarma acted in self defense, while the state made a case that Kaarma had baited potential burglars into his garage to exact revenge for prior thefts.

The primary focus of the defense team's claim was Judge McLean's refusal of their change of venue request. Defense argued that extensive media coverage of the Kaarma trial made it impossible to avoid an inherent bias, claiming that media coverage portrayed Kaarma as a villain while Diren Dede was portrayed as an innocent victim. Defense further asserted that media published information about Kaarma's criminal history which was not allowed to be presented to jurors in the courtroom.

McLean ultimately agreed with the state that defense was given ample opportunity to select unbiased jurors during jury selection, and further pointed out that media coverage of the trial was statewide, meaning that a change of venue would not have avoided media coverage. The motion for a retrial was rejected.

Defense also tried to make a case that the charge be changed from deliberate homicide to mitigated homicide. Judge McLean asked why they did not ask for the charge to be altered during the trial. He asserts that if defense had requested to offer jurors the option of mitigated homicide, he would have. They did not, so the option was not given. McLean claimed that the court cannot decide to offer alternative charges to the jury in order not to interfere with the trial. He rejected the defense's request for that reason.

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