Jurors reached a verdict in the “porch shooting” case Thursday, finding that Theodore Wafer is guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. Wafer, 55, shot and killed the unarmed woman on his porch just before dawn on November 2.
Wafer claimed the shooting was self-defense. He told investigators that he woke up to “unbelievable” pounding on his door. Fearing for his life, Wafer opened fire, killing McBride with a bullet to the face.
The New York Daily News reports that defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter stated in her closing argument, “He armed himself. He was getting attacked. Put yourself in his shoes at 4:30 in the morning.”
The prosecution argued that the Detroit homeowner had better options than to shoot Renisha McBride on his porch. Instead of grabbing a gun, prosecutor Patrick Muscat told jurors that Theodore Wafer could have called 911, rather than acting as “judge, jury and executioner.”
Muscat added, “She was a young girl looking for help. What he did had to be immediately necessary and it wasn’t. It was reckless. It was negligent. I don’t know how to describe it. It was horrific.”
CBS Detroit notes that McBride, who had an extremely high blood-alcohol level and traces of marijuana in her system, was killed in the porch shooting three hours after she walked away from a car crash in Detroit. The crash happened about a half-mile from Wafer’s home.
In the aftermath of the porch shooting case, some questioned if race was a factor. Wafer is white, while McBride was black. However, race hasn’t been an issue at trial, and Carpenter stated in her closing remarks that race isn’t a factor for the jury. She added that Wafer was just a homeowner who was aware of crime in a neighborhood bordering Detroit.
Carpenter told the jury, “In the heat of the moment our instincts are to survive. He did not know it was a 19-year-old who got in a car crash at 1 am. What he knew was someone was trying to get int. It’s not for a good reason — it’s to hurt me.”
Speaking Thursday, McBride’s father, Walter McBride, told reporters, “Wafer is a cold blooded killer.” Walter added that Wafer should have called police instead of using his shotgun.
Wafer could face up to life in prison with the possibility of parole, but the sentence will likely be much shorter. Reporters noted that Theodore Wafer remained silent and unemotional as the verdict was read in the porch shooting case.
[Image: US News]