A Montana judge has scolded an attorney for "playing to the public" by using today's World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany in his defense of a man accused of killing a German exchange student.
The bizarre twist is the latest chapter in the April 27 death of a teenager in Missoula, Mont., killed by a homeowner who fired shotgun blasts after he found the unarmed student in his garage. When the teen's father flew to the U.S. to retrieve his son's body, he had some choice words for America's gun culture, saying the nation "cannot continue to play cowboy."
Missoula resident Markus Kaarma is charged with deliberate homicide. and his attorney, Paul Ryan, announced recently that he would be hosting a free community screening of today's U.S.-Germany soccer match.
But District Judge Ed McLean was having none of it.
This morning's Missoulian reports that McLean lectured Ryan to stop the gamesmanship.
"I don't want any playing to the public when we have serious business at hand," said McLean. "It's not the time to run a public relations campaign. So knock it off."
Ryan insists it was a misunderstanding.
"First of all, it was an unintended consequence," Ryan told the Missoulian. "The event itself is what this is about. We didn't connect the two. Based on what the judge said today, we are going to cancel the event."
Meanwhile, Kaarma's trial date has been set for Jan. 5, 2015.